Vaccine Mandate, UAW response

Below is a synopsis of the letter written by UAW President, Ray Curry, regarding the UAW's position and planning when it comes to vaccine mandates at worksites.  09/27/2021

"All Local Unions

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that soon some employers will be mandated through OSHA to require full vaccination of their workers. While the President’s announcement provided some details, much is still yet to be determined, and these mandates are not yet effective. Additional communication will be forthcoming once the government releases more information.

The plans announced have four major components that will likely affect UAW-represented workplaces.

Until the various rules described above are finalized, the UAW’s bargaining position continues to be that vaccination is strongly encouraged, but a personal choice. However, some employers have already attempted to mandate vaccination, and more may follow in response to the White House’s announcement. Until government mandates are effective, both the employer’s decision to require vaccination for bargaining unit employees and the effects of that decision, are mandatory subjects of bargaining.  Pursuant to Article 19 of the UAW Constitution, any negotiated agreement that supplements the collective bargaining agreement must be ratified by the membership."

As with any subject related to collective bargaining; grievances, NLRB charges, litigation, or additional bargaining may be utilized.  While the subject of vaccinations has recently become divisive and visceral, we must all recognize that bargaining, mandates, and workplace safety are all subject to process, regulation, and settled law.   

Finally, a reminder that regardless of vaccination, other workplace safety issues related to COVID-19 should continue to be discussed at the worksite level.