We Will Bargain for Vaccine Mandates and More to Protect Each Other
The NewsGuild of New York Supports Properly Negotiated Vaccine Mandates as a Way to Ensure Safe Workplaces and Reduce Community Transmission of COVID-19
The Guild's Executive Committee has approved the resolution below supporting properly negotiated vaccine mandates as part of a layered approach to health and safety that includes making any return to office voluntary, mandatory masking, physical distancing, and ventilation and filtration.
Questions or comments? Contact us at AskTheEC@nyguild.org
NYGuild Executive Committee Resolution on
Vaccine Mandates and Return to Office Policies
COVID-19 is a deadly occupational disease that threatens the lives and health of media workers and their households. The workplace can be a major source of spread and infection, as it is a location where individuals spend many hours in an enclosed space breathing the same air. The threat posed by the pandemic has now been compounded by the Delta variant, which is more than twice as contagious as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and one of the most contagious viruses scientists have ever studied.
Because of the Delta variant and the large percentage of the population that remains unvaccinated, community transmission is currently surging around the United States, including in the New York metropolitan area. This puts everyone at risk, including vaccinated individuals, who can not only be infected with the virus but may become just as contagious as unvaccinated individuals if they are. The result is that vaccinated employees who are infected at work can subsequently put children and immunocompromised members of their household at risk.
Referring to the Delta variant, the CDC recently said we need to acknowledge that “the war has changed.”
The NewsGuild of New York’s position on the pandemic is unequivocal:
- Returning to the office is a mandatory subject of bargaining and a status quo issue. That means management cannot force unionized employees back to work without first negotiating with them.
- Employers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees.
- Employers have a social responsibility to not contribute to community transmission.
Our bargaining approach is grounded in the principle that the union’s role is to ensure that management is protecting the greatest number of workers, their families, and the communities they live in, to the greatest degree possible. The best and most immediate way to protect ourselves and each other is to get vaccinated. That is why the Guild fully supports requiring proof of vaccination for anyone entering indoor spaces with our members, with limited exceptions for religious beliefs or health concerns. Anyone exempted from this mandate should be required to submit proof of a negative COVID test at least weekly.
The Guild also believes that mandatory vaccination cannot be the sole protection afforded by any employer to Guild members. Any safe return-to-office depends on a layered approach that includes a combination of: vaccination, making any time in the office voluntary, adequate ventilation and filtration systems, physical distancing, and masks.
We are ready and willing to fight for this position, which is literally a matter of life or death for our members, their households, and their communities.
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