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State workers’ union pushes back on return to office order

A union representing Missouri state workers is urging Gov. Mike Parson to make accommodations for state workers ordered last month to return to their offices, calling the directive “dangerous.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Natashia Pickens, president of the Missouri State Workers Union Communications Workers of America Local 6355, wrote to Parson on Wednesday. The letter says COVID-19 is still “raging” across the state and that Parson’s office failed to take into account health or child care concerns.

The union asked that Parson, a Republican, consider demands that include paid time off to get vaccinated, personal protective equipment for employees, and that the state set up a process so workers with family and child care responsibilities may request a delayed return.

Thirty-one House Democrats signed onto the letter.

Parson in May directed all state employees to return to in-person work after many spent most of the previous 14 months working remotely. He cited declining cases of COVID-19.

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