Please attribute the following statement to HPAE President Debbie White, RN:
The mandate issued by Governor Murphy yesterday does not change our response to the issue of mandatory vaccination. As a union, we have the right to bargain our hours, wages and working conditions and this is no different. We will always demand to bargain over the effects of a new work rule, and, in fact, Governor Murphy has encouraged employers to work with their labor partners (unions) while implementing policies.
What are the “effects” of a work rule? They are things like employer acceptance of exemptions, testing and inherent costs, discipline, side effects and reactions to the vaccine and whether employees who call out due to side effects of the vaccine will be considered call outs. This is only a partial list of “effects” and not comprehensive of all.
We believe the Governor’s announcement yesterday was a mandate to employers to vaccinate healthcare workers or begin weekly or bi-weekly testing of those who “opt out”. Each employer has been tasked with creating a policy in line with this mandate. The “opt out” can be different in each institution but most often, “opt out” will equate to getting a medical or religious exemptions. Some employers may choose to keep the vaccine voluntary, while testing the unvaccinated weekly. This would probably be the exception rather than the rule.
If they have not done so already, your employer will shortly make an announcement regarding how they will implement this mandate. While your local leaders are requesting comprehensive information from the employers and beginning the process of bargaining over the effects of this roll out, please–get the vaccine. We recommend the vaccine as it does provide the best protection against COVID hospitalizations and death.
If you have a medical exemption, religious exemption, or strongly held belief that prevents you from being vaccinated, find out where exemption forms are located (if necessary), fill out the form and submit it to your employer. Take action!
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556