Unvaccinated US workers face job losses

21 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Unvaccinated US workers face job losses

The Herald

WASHINGTON. – Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the United States are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities and private companies start to enforce mandates for inoculation against Covid-19.

In the latest high-profile example, Washington State University (WSU) fired its head football coach and four of his assistants on Monday for failing to comply with the state’s vaccine requirement. 

The coach, Nick Rolovich, had applied for a religious exemption from the mandate earlier this month.

Thousands of police officers and firefighters in cities like Chicago and Baltimore are also at risk of losing their jobs in the coming days under mandates that require them to report their vaccination status or submit to regular coronavirus testing

While controversial, the mandates have been effective at convincing many hesitant workers to get vaccinated against the virus, which has killed more than 700,000 people in the United States. Some 77 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one shot of a vaccine, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been battling with the police union, which came out against the vaccine mandate for city workers. About a third of the city’s 12 770 police employees missed a Friday deadline to report their vaccination status, and some officers have been put on no-pay status.

“Fundamentally, what this all is about is about saving lives. It’s about maximizing the opportunity to create a safe workplace,” Lightfoot said on Monday, accusing the union of tying to “induce an insurrection” by opposing the mandate.

The White House, which announced sweeping vaccine requirements in a bid to reduce a surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths caused by the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, has been a major catalyst behind the inoculation push

Last Friday, some 200 Boeing Co employees and others staged a protest over the planemaker’s requirement that 125 000 workers be vaccinated by December 8, under an executive order issued by President Joe Biden for federal contractors.

The rules for another order applying to private businesses with 100 or more employees are expected to be finalised soon

Along with the mandate for federal workers and contractors, Biden’s vaccine requirements will cover roughly 100-million people, about two-thirds of the US workforce.

The White House has been meeting with executives of several major companies to discuss Biden’s private-sector vaccination plan. On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was worried about a possible shortage of Transportation Security Administration agents gumming up air travel during the year-end holiday season. With 40 percent of the agency’s staff not yet vaccinated and Thanksgiving just over a month away, Schumer suggested security dogs could be added to help cover any shortfall.

A wave of layoffs has already swept through the healthcare industry, which moved more quickly than others to impose vaccine mandates given the heightened Covid-19 exposure risk for patients and staff.

Nurses and other healthcare workers who chose to leave their jobs rather than be immunised recently said  they could not get past their concern over a lack of long-term data on the three vaccines available in the United States.

Many unvaccinated workers looking to avoid the shots have done so by seeking religious exemptions, which are being tested in several courts. – Reuters

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