Unions representing hundreds of employees at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles have expressed “serious” concerns about COVID-19 at one of the agency’s largest branches.
Union leaders said their warnings have fallen upon deaf ears from DMV management.
In an April 2 letter to DMV management obtained by NBC Connecticut Investigates, union leadership stated there has been a “sudden spike” of COVID-19 cases at branches.
The letter explained there were at least 22 cases reported within the Connecticut DMV in March, the majority affecting employees in Wethersfield.
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The union said this is putting employees and the public at risk.
"If this was a private business, the state would have shut it down," Bill Boucher, interim president of the local for the Connecticut Police and Fire International Union, said.
The unions representing CT DMV workers, in their letter, have asked the CT DMV to shut down its Wethersfield branch for a 72-hour deep cleaning, have on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for ]employees, and voluntary, instant rapid COVID-19 testing.
"I think we go over and beyond to make sure that, all the protocols that the CDC has implemented, that we follow those rules," CT DMV Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera told NBC Connecticut Investigates.
The CT DMV explained its branches undergo an extensive, electrostatic air cleaning every night.
It has installed numerous plexiglass shields inside, aggressively enforced mask wearing and social distancing, and the bathrooms have been scrubbed down every several hours, though it said it cannot control what employees do once they leave the workplace.
Last March, early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the CT DMV kept only a skeletal staff inside its Wethersfield branch after a number of employees tested positive. A deep cleaning of the facility was performed then.