From the start of the pandemic, NTEU has been focused on protecting the health and safety of the federal workforce including urging those we represent to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, their coworkers and the public.
To date, many of them have.
The executive order the White House is expected to release later today making vaccination a condition of employment for federal employees is a step the government, as an employer, has the legal right to take. NTEU members, like American society at large, will have differing reactions to the new policy. Some employees will disagree. Others will welcome the additional security that comes with knowing that all of their coworkers are vaccinated. Either way, the law is clear that employers, including the federal government, may implement a vaccination requirement for employees.
NTEU will monitor closely the implementation of this policy at the agencies where we represent employees to make sure that those with medical and religious exceptions are accommodated. Like always, NTEU will work to eliminate the barriers to vaccination, including having agencies continue to provide employees with duty time to get vaccinated and time off to recover from any potential side effects and, as much as possible, offer vaccinations at the workplace. Additionally, we will work to ensure that employees have ample time to comply and that due process is followed.
In July, we urged the administration to delay the end of the maximum telework policy that has been so successful in protecting federal employees throughout the pandemic. Although agencies continue to work on their plans for returning employees to federal workplaces, the effective date of that re-entry should be delayed until the public health crisis subsides.