Business & Lobbying

AFL-CIO backing vaccine requirement for workers

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The head of the AFL-CIO said on Tuesday that the labor organization supports vaccine mandates for workers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka outlined the group’s position during an interview on C-SPAN’s “The Washington Journal,” explaining why such mandates are important.

“Yes we do,” Trumka said, when asked if the AFL-CIO supports vaccine mandates. “If you are coming back into the workplace, you have to know what’s around you.”

Trumka’s comments come as employers across the country mandate vaccinations or testing amid a rise in COIVD-19 cases due to the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to mandate vaccines for its health care workers.

President Biden also said Tuesday that a vaccine mandate for federal employees is “under consideration right now.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Monday that all city employees would have to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests starting Sept. 13.

But a union representing emergency workers with the New York City Fire Department, FDNY EMS Local 2507, opposed the mandate, saying “the city and the mayor cannot simply disregard the civil liberties of the workforce.”

Explaining why the AFL-CIO supports vaccine mandates, Trumka said on C-SPAN that “everybody” in the workplace would be jeopardized if a worker is not vaccinated. He also said it’s hard to make proper accommodations if a business doesn’t know if an employee has been vaccinated.

He said “the best thing that can happen is a vaccination” to prevent variants of COVID-19.

“After we get everybody vaccinated in the United States, we have to help people around the world get vaccinated so that more and more variants don’t start springing up and jeopardizing us and our economy, so that we don’t see another shutdown like we saw last year when COVID first hit,” Trumka said.

“The president has done a great job on COVID. What we need to do now is get more people vaccinated, and I think the mandate is an acceptable way to do it,” he continued.

Tags AFL-CIO Bill de Blasio Joe Biden Richard Trumka

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