After months fighting to protect union members rights, Teamsters win extra incentives for State workers who get vaccinated, more time and protections for objectors.


(Chicago, Ill.) Teamsters Joint Council 25 finalized an agreement with the State of Illinois this week on the terms of the state-imposed vaccination mandate for hundreds of workers in several State-run departments. The agreement provides protections for union workers who chose not to get the vaccine while providing enhanced incentives to those who do.  

The agreement affects union members working in congregate care facilities operated by the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Human Services, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs only. The agreement affects Teamsters at nearly a dozen Local Unions throughout Illinois.  

“While I am disappointed over the State’s mandate, I am immensely proud of our Negotiating Committee that was able to reach a fair agreement which creates incentives for the vaccinated and a safety net for those with continued hesitancy to receive the vaccine”, said Teamsters Joint Council 25 President Terrence J. Hancock. “We are committed to the safety of our entire membership and keeping state operations running smoothly and effectively, but most importantly, we are deeply indebted to these men and women for their brave work during this pandemic. They will always be heroes.”  

Since Governor Pritzker’s vaccination mandate applying to state employees working in congregate care facilities was first announced in August, Teamsters Joint Council 25 has opposed mandating the vaccine as a condition of employment. After months of negotiations, the Teamsters Joint Council 25 Negotiating Committee successfully pushed back the vaccination deadline from October 4 to November 30. In addition, employees who are fully vaccinated prior to that date and employees who receive an exemption will receive an additional day of paid leave in their leave-banks. Employees applying for religious or medical exemption  must do by October 26 and, if approved, will be allowed to stay on the job with frequent testing and asking protocols.  

Employees who have decided that they will not receive the vaccine before the November 30 deadline will have opportunities to seek a lateral transfer to the same position in a non-congregant setting or be laid off subject to recall rights, while protecting seniority rights. Objectors who do not apply for an exemption, or the one-time layoff by October 25 will be subject to the progressive discipline process laid out in the agreement which will allow impacted employees more time to get the vaccine.  

Employees who are vaccinated or secure an approved exemption will now be granted 15 days of approved time off with pay for a documented COVID-19 quarantine and/or COVID-19 positive test where the employee is unable to work. Time off with pay may be extended for those employees who are hospitalized due to a documented COVID-19 diagnosis for up to a total of 30 days. Employees will receive paid time off if directed to quarantine after a workplace exposure.  

Teamsters Joint Council No. 25 represents over 100,000 hard-working members in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million members in North America.