Sept 9 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Thursday took aim
at vaccine resistance in America, announcing policies requiring
most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccines and pushing
large employers to have their workers vaccinated or tested
The new measures https://www.reuters.com/world/us/bidens-new-covid-19-plan-includes-vaccine-test-mandates-2021-09-09/?enowpopup,
which Biden laid out in remarks from the White House, would
apply to about two-thirds of all U.S. employees, those who work
for businesses with more than 100 workers.
A senior administration official said the U.S. Department of
Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration would take
enforcement actions against those that did not comply, with
substantial fines of nearly $14,000 per violation.
Following are some of the latest reactions to the move.
DEFENSE CONTRACTOR LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP
"As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to
follow federal, state and local mandates, and the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to minimize the spread
STATE STREET CORP
"In August, we announced that we will require all employees
and contingent workers in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated in
order to enter a State Street building, as of September 13,
UNITED AUTO WORKERS UNION
A spokesman said the union is "looking at the details of the
announcement and how it impacts our over 700 employer contracts
and our members." UAW President Ray Curry last month said he
supported only voluntary efforts to get employees vaccinated,
and said any mandates would need to be agreed through
"We know vaccines, coupled with widespread and convenient
testing, serve as powerful tools to help slow the spread of
COVID-19 in our communities, keeping the U.S. economy open, and
protecting Americas workforce," said Brian Huseman, vice
president of public policy for Amazon.com. "Were proud to work
with the Biden administration to increase access to affordable,
high-quality, FDA-authorized tests, to keep us moving toward a
AUTOMAKER STELLANTIS NV
Since vaccines have become available, Stellantis has
continued to strongly advocate for our employees to get
vaccinated, including facilitating administration through our
near-site clinics and in partnership with our local unions. We
will review the Administration's announcement and discuss it
with our partners."
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
"Since the vaccines first became widely available, we have
strongly encouraged all our members to take one of the several
safe, effective vaccines against COVID-19," said American
Federation of Government Employees National President Everett
Kelley. "The data are clear. Getting vaccinated isnt just the
best way for us to end this pandemic, it is the best way for us
to protect each other in the workplace."
"Likewise, since President Biden made his first major
announcement about changing COVID-19 protocols for the federal
workforce in response to the surging Delta variant, we have said
that changes like this should be negotiated with our bargaining
units where appropriate. Put simply, workers deserve a voice in
their working conditions. Neither of these positions has
changed. We expect to bargain over this change prior to
implementation, and we urge everyone who is able to get
vaccinated as soon as they can do so.
RARE EARTHS PRODUCER MP MATERIALS CORP
MP Materials, which received a grant from the Pentagon last
year to process the minerals used in weaponry and electronics,
said it would review the president's order. "We haven't yet seen
the order and do not know what impact it will have. In general,
we have acted throughout the pandemic to protect the health and
wellbeing of our employees, including by encouraging and
incentivizing vaccination," spokesman Matt Sloustcher said.
LAWYER WHO REPRESENTS GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS
Regarding the legality of directing government contractors
to get employees vaccinated, Steve Cave, an attorney at King &
Spalding who represents government contractors, said the
president will be seen as having greater authority over
contractors sending employees to federal property, while
contractors that do not perform work on government property will
be more motivated to challenge the order.
Cave said there is precedent for Bidens order. Former
President Donald Trump banned from use by U.S. government
contractors some Chinese technology which so far has survived
challenges, he said.
"We are requiring proof of vaccination for all employees and
vendors entering Microsoft buildings in the U.S. We have an
accommodation process in place for employees who have a medical
condition or other protected reason, such as religion, which
prevent them from getting vaccinated, a spokesperson said.
National Association of Manufacturers
We look forward to working with the administration to
ensure any vaccine requirements are structured in a way that
does not negatively impact the operations of manufacturers that
have been leading through the pandemic to keep Americans safe.
It is important that undue compliance costs do not burden
manufacturers, large and small alike," President and CEO Jay
Timmons said in a statement.
Getting all eligible Americans vaccinated will, first and
foremost, reduce hospitalizations and save lives. But it is also
an economic imperative in that our recovery and quality of life
depend on our ability to end this pandemic."
DELTA AIR LINES
"While we await the details of the administrations plan,
Delta is proud to have developed a vaccination program that has
already seen 78% of employees get vaccinated. Our employee
vaccination numbers continue to grow following the announcement
of our healthcare premium surcharge starting in November, and
weekly testing starting next week, for those employees who
choose to remain unvaccinated."
GRAPHICS CHIP MAKER NVIDIA CORP
The safety of our employees and their families is a top
priority for NVIDIA. This is a topic that is being reviewed by
our senior leaders and we have not yet made any decisions.
FREIGHT RAILROAD OPERATOR UNION PACIFIC CORP
"We are reviewing the legal document outlining today's
executive order. If we are required to mandate vaccines or
weekly testing, we will certainly comply. Right now, we continue
to strongly encourage our employees to get vaccinated and are
MONEY TRANSFER COMPANY WESTERN UNION CO
"Western Union is aware of the new Biden Administration
mandate and will closely review any legal requirements with
respect to the mandate and take applicable measures. We strongly
encourage vaccination to help protect against COVID-19 for all
our employees, and already require all employees based out of
our Denver HQ to certify and provide proof of vaccination prior
to coming to the office or regularly certify that they have
received a negative COVID test result for those unvaccinated
employees coming to the office."
(Reporting by Joe White in Detroit, Jarrett Renshaw in
Philadelphia, Ernest Scheyder in Houston, Tom Hals in
Wilmington, Del., Ira Iosebashvili in New York, Sanjana Sitara
Shivdas, Noor Zainab Hussain and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru;
Editing by Peter Henderson, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler)