We have learned that today the administration will announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate as a condition of employment for all federal employees.
This mandate is a significant expansion of the federal government’s vaccine policy, which initially gave employees a choice between vaccination or frequent testing. NTEU is expecting to receive additional details tomorrow on the implementation of the mandate. We will share those details as soon as we receive them.
Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said federal employees will have about 75 days to comply.
NTEU knows that many of our members will have their own viewpoints on the requirement to be vaccinated. Regardless, it is settled law that the government, as an employer, has a legal right to take this step and challenges to mandates have been rejected by the courts. Therefore we will not be filing a legal challenge to the mandate.
At this point, we are focused on how federal agencies will implement this mandate. Here are a few of those issues:
• Verifying a deadline for federal employees to become fully vaccinated;
• Privacy of employees’ medical information;
• Verification process for employees to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated;
• Vaccine options (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, etc.) for employees;
• Agencies providing vaccination shots on-site or other measures to make it as easy as possible for employees;
• Administrative time to get vaccine shots and to recover from any potential side effects, as is currently the policy;
• Reasonable accommodation process for employees who are medically unable to be vaccinated or who have religious objections;
• Whether agencies will still be required to implement their COVID-19 testing programs; and
• Whether mask mandates will remain in effect once the workforce is vaccinated.
Throughout the pandemic, NTEU’s top priority is the health and safety of our members and the employees we represent. From the moment vaccines were available, we’ve encouraged employees to get vaccinated if they are able because it is proven that they are a safe and effective way to protect yourself, your family and your coworkers. The COVID vaccines are shown to significantly reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from COVID.
Many of our NTEU members have been personally affected by this pandemic as family members and colleagues have fallen ill or died. Our COVID Memorial page contains too many names already and we do not want to add any more.