Influential American Postal Workers Union opposes federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate
As President Joe Biden continues his push for federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the influential American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has expressed its opposition
to vaccine mandates.
The APWU released a statement this week saying that although it intends to encourage postal workers to get the vaccine, it is “not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent.”
The statement goes on to say that any issues related to COVID-19 testing and vaccines in the workplace need to be negotiated with the union, which represents more than 220,000 postal workers.
They added: “At this time, the APWU opposes the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to U.S. postal workers.”
The statement comes just a day after Biden announced that the White House was mulling a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all federal workers. On a trip to McLean, Virginia, he admitted that it was under consideration and blamed unvaccinated people for the pandemic.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the first major federal agency to institute a vaccine mandate for healthcare employees, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that all of his state's employees will need to get the vaccine or undergo regular testing. City workers in New York are subject to similar rules, and California Governor Gavin Newsom has also announced a similar measure.
Right now, such mandates are questionable given the current vaccines’ status of only having Emergency Use Authorization rather than full FDA approval. Biden has said that he expects full FDA approval to be given by the fall, which will give mandates by governmental agencies and companies more solid legal ground.
One step closer to a full mandate
Yesterday, the White House announced a series of new steps that include requiring federal employees to either attest to being vaccinated or be subject to very strict protocols that include wearing a mask on the job at all times, keeping a physical distance from other employees and visitors, submitting to weekly or twice-weekly testing for the virus, and being subjected to official travel restrictions. Although they have said this is not technically a mandate, it does feel like one to many, although officials have claimed that federal employees who do not get the vaccine will not lose their jobs.
The administration also announced other new steps yesterday to incentivize vaccines
, including expanding the paid leave offered to employees for taking time off work to get themselves or family members vaccinated – something that the employers will be reimbursed for. Biden also asked states to use American Rescue Plan funding to offer Americans $100 to get the vaccine.
He is ordering the Department of Defense to find out how they can add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of required immunizations for being a member of the Armed Forces. The DoD has said that all personnel will be required to attest their vaccination status or be subjected to the aforementioned measures of distancing, testing, masking and official travel restrictions.
Perhaps most outrageously, he has called on school districts across the nation to hold pop-up vaccination clinics in the next few weeks in a bid to get more kids aged 12 and older vaccinated. In the UK
, children under 18 will not be given the vaccine unless they have issues like immunosuppression or severe neuro-disabilities as authorities there believe that the risks of the jab in this age group outweigh the benefits, making them one of the few nations taking a sensible approach to the matter. It's a far different story in the U.S.
It’s unfortunate that in their mad rush to get the country’s vaccination numbers
up, the Biden administration is not taking the time to look closely at the risks and find better ways to reduce the spread of the disease without infringing upon people’s health freedom.
Sources for this article include: