A tiny but outspoken group of workers around the country, from New York City cops and firemen to Los Angeles teachers and staff to Massachusetts state employees, are putting vaccine regulations and employers to the test by walking out of work and choosing for unpaid leave over signing up for a shot.
However, as the deadline for Biden’s vaccination requirement approaches for broad swathes of the American workforce next month, the response to local regulations might be a foreshadowing of what’s to come.
Workers Are Putting Biden’s Vaccine Mandate To Test As The Deadline
President Joe Biden announced new requirements in September to compel public and private employees to get the coronavirus vaccine, requiring the majority of federal employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Dec. 8, having completed either a one-dose vaccine regiment or a two-dose vaccine regiment at least two weeks prior to the deadline.
The regulations also urge the Labor Department to compel private sector enterprises with more than 100 employees to guarantee that employees are vaccinated or subjected to weekly testing before going to work, affecting around 80 million people.
The private-sector mandate – presumably with potential exemptions – is still in the works, but a government source stated that further information will be released in the coming days. However, in the following weeks, the need for government workers and contractors will be in full gear, affecting millions of people around the country.
Despite this, the Biden administration has shown some flexibility when a federal judge imposed a temporary restraining order last week prohibiting it from terminating federal employees pending the outcome of religious exemption petitions.
The requirements’ potential for disruption is unknown. For failing to fulfill the city’s Monday vaccination deadline, police unions in New York warned that up to 10,000 officers might be placed on involuntary leave. However, officials revealed on Tuesday that just 34 uniformed cops have been placed on leave since the directive went into force.
Employees aren’t the only ones who oppose Biden’s directives. In the days after the announcement and in subsequent weeks, Republican leaders have initiated attempts to block the requirements, notably the initiative to construct a vaccination mandate for the private sector.
In a letter to the president, two dozen Republican state attorneys general asked him to reconsider his decision to require vaccines and periodic coronavirus testing for workers at organizations with more than 100 employees, calling the proposal “disastrous and unproductive.”
Despite the fact that the majority of employees support vaccination requirements, Gallup reports that 30% are strongly opposed. However, just 7% of those opposed indicate they are actively seeking new employment, while 3% say they have no plans to be vaccinated and presently work for a company that requires vaccinations.
Even if one out of every five workers is still unvaccinated, the great number of vaccines available ensures that the vast majority of Americans will not have to choose between receiving the shot or losing their job if their company requires it.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record number of people have departed their employment in recent months for a variety of reasons, indicating a seismic change in the labor market. Companies may face personnel issues as a result of the wave of resignations, especially if additional staff choose to quit due to vaccine obligations.