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MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
This Memorandum of Agreement is by and between the Board of Higher Education on behalf of the Massachusetts State Universities (the “Universities”) and the Association of Professional Administrators MTA/NEA (the “Association”) (collectively, the “Parties”).
WHEREAS, on August 24, 2021, the Parties entered into an agreement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for bargaining unit members;
WHEREAS, the Parties continue to believe in the value of the State University communities keeping their COVID-19 vaccination status up to date; and
WHEREAS, the parties recognize that despite widespread vaccinations, disruptions to working lives and concerns about health and safety in this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and,
WHEREAS, the Parties recognize that the broad health and safety concerns of COVID-19 persist; and that vaccinations and masks, along with other provisions, provide some of the key measures for seeking safer and healthier campuses; and
WHEREAS, the Parties met to discuss and modify the aforementioned August 24, 2021 Agreement.
NOW THEREFORE, the Parties agree as follows:
- Unit members are required to have received a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized COVID-19 vaccine, including a second dose if required as part of the vaccine regimen they have selected.
- If they have not already done so, unit members shall be required to provide verification of vaccination consistent with the policy of their State University. Any changes to these policies are subject to bargaining obligations under applicable law. A State University may download the vaccination status of unit members from the Massachusetts Immunization Information Database (MIIS) maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Immunization Division. The Parties agree that APA unit members are strongly encouraged to adhere to the appropriate Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance regarding any COVID-19 boosters.
- Unit members may seek exemption from this vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons by completing the appropriate form and providing it, together with substantiating information, to their respective State University’s human resources department or the office designated by each State University. Unit members seeking exemption due to a sincerely held religious belief must attest that the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with such religious beliefs. The State University shall require the unit member to provide a statement describing the religious belief and why receiving any COVID-19 vaccine interferes with this belief. Unit members seeking exemption from the vaccination requirement due to medical reasons shall provide an attestation from a licensed health care provider that describes the basis for the opinion that the unit member cannot safely receive any COVID-19 vaccine. Unit members that have previously received exemption from the vaccination requirement shall not be required to re-seek exemption status.
- Unit members who receive an exemption from the mandatory vaccination requirement in accordance with this Agreement are expected to complete a self-administered test weekly. The State Universities will make self-administered tests available for any exempted unit member who seeks one.
- There may be a variety of instances when a unit member might need or desire to self-test. From the date of execution until December 30, 2022, the State Universities will make available self-administered tests for any unit member who seeks to test and is asymptomatic, not to exceed one (1) test per week.
- Unit members who test positive for COVID-19 shall inform their State University’s human resources department of their positive test and work with the human resources department regarding quarantine or isolation as necessary and to determine when it would be appropriate to return to the workplace. Unit members may work remotely during the isolation or quarantine period. If a unit member who must isolate or quarantine is unable to work remotely, they shall be entitled to utilize sick leave, vacation leave or personal leave. The Parties recognize that vaccine information, testing information and test results are confidential, private, and shall be shared only on a need-to-know basis according to relevant employment and public health protocols.
- Unit members who are not vaccinated or exempt from the vaccination requirement as provided by this Agreement shall not be permitted to work and shall not be paid, except as provided in this paragraph. Unit members may use accrued vacation time, or be placed on unpaid leave, for a period of no longer than one-half (1⁄2) year. Unit members on an unpaid leave for these purposes shall not have access to the university’s facilities, including their office, and shall not be permitted on campus. Any disciplinary action imposed upon a unit member for violation of this Agreement shall be subject to Article VIII of the APA Agreement.
- At each university with a committee formed to discuss COVID-19 health and safety advisory related issues, the APA Chapter President shall appoint a number equal to the representatives appointed by other unions to serve on the committee. This advisory committee shall meet no fewer than two (2) times each semester to discuss ongoing COVID-19 health and safety issues on the campus. The committee shall be informed of any anticipated, substantial changes to health and safety protocols.
- Due to the different working conditions of unit members employed at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, unit members assigned to the training vessel will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations and up-to-date boosters, in accordance with the CDC guidance. The Academy will provide and require testing to be completed and results provided to the medical officer or human resources within both ten days and forty-eight hours prior to the time the unit member boards the vessel for cruises.
- This Agreement shall constitute the full agreement between the Parties regarding the State Universities’ discretion to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy and shall only be modified by a subsequent agreement in writing. The parties shall meet prior to June 30, 2023, to consider modification or termination of this Agreement.
WHEREFORE the Parties hereto hereunder set their signs and seals as follows:
BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Director of Employee and Labor Relations
John D. Keenan
Chair, Council of Presidents
ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATORS