Our Health and Safety Is Worth Fighting For
The NewsGuild of New York Calls on Employers to Do More to Protect All Workers and
Reduce Community Transmission of COVID-19
The Guild's Executive Committee has adopted the following resolution calling on employers to expand the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include booster shots, to provide and mandate use of high filtration masks in workplaces, to provide safe ventilation and filtration systems, and to continue remote work until community transmission returns to safe levels.
Questions or comments? Contact us at AskTheEC@nyguild.org
NYGuild Executive Committee Advocates Delay on Return to Office Policies and
Expanding Vaccine and Mask Mandates
In August, The NewsGuild of New York Executive Committee passed a resolution in support of properly negotiated vaccine mandates as part of our layered approach to health and safety, which includes a combination of: mandatory vaccination, making any time in the office voluntary, adequate ventilation and filtration systems, physical distancing, testing, and masks.
Since then, we have been hit by an even harder surge, resulting in record breaking case numbers and hospitalizations in New York and around the country. The transmissibility of Omicron has surpassed the expectations of public health officials and the results have been deeply damaging to our straining health and educational systems. The current surge has been further exacerbated by CDC policies that prioritize employer profits over public health.
A “let it rip” approach to public health has profound impacts beyond the collapse of hospitals and schools, it also endangers the elderly and immunocompromised populations. Additionally, there is mounting evidence that a number of those infected with COVID, even those who are fully vaccinated, are developing debilitating symptoms that last for months. Now more than ever we see the truth of Dr. King’s immortal words, “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
As unionists who value solidarity and collective action, we know our greatest protection is each other. We are ready to do our part. That means continuing to fight for higher health and safety standards in our workplaces to better ensure that the employers we work for are doing everything they can to protect us, our families, and our communities, to the greatest degree possible. By raising standards in our own industry, we are doing our part to help raise standards for all workers everywhere. In the wake of the recent United States Supreme Court Decision to strike down the Biden Administration’s private employer vaccine mandate, we once again reiterate our support for vaccine mandates and our commitment to winning them at the bargaining table.
As the pandemic evolves, so must our demands. In addition to our continued support for the layered approach above, the Guild calls on employers to:
- Delay any plans to return to office until at least the summer. Many employers have continued to foolishly announce new dates for a mandatory return to office every month, only to push them back again. This creates needless stress in what is already a difficult time for most of their employees. Also, according to the Labor Board, returning to the office is a mandatory subject of bargaining.
- Expand the definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” to include either a third shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, an additional shot after the J&J vaccine or booster-equivalent vaccines otherwise authorized by the World Health Organization. An employee shall be considered fully vaccinated, including the need for boosters, as per the guidance of the CDC which may be updated from time to time.
- Make U.S. manufactured, NIOSH-certified N95s universally available to all employees and to mandate the use of high filtration masks in shared spaces.
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