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Vaccine mandate: NFFE responds

This month, facing rising numbers of COVID cases and deaths across large swaths of the country, the Biden White House issued sturdier vaccine requirements, and in particular an absolute mandate for federal employees. 

Feds must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22. 

The White House order is intended to increase the number and proportion of people in the U.S. who are vaccinated, cut the number of deaths and hospitalizations, and to more completely re-open the economy. Feds must also offer documented proof of complete vaccination. 

Only small numbers of exceptions to the new regulations are expected, all of which would have to come under medical or religious reasons. 

Now, as have employee organizations, a major federal employee union, the National Federation of Federal Employees, is responding to the new mandate. The group considered legally challenging the change, having preferred that any new vaccine policy be negotiated, but has stated that it is dropping that avenue. 

"NFFE understands and respects the differing perspectives of its individual members on matters regarding vaccines, mask mandates, and social distancing," the union said in a release. "We have considered the likelihood of success on a legal challenge to the mandates contained within the EO."

"More than 100 years of legal precedent exists confirming the authority of employer-required mandates and vaccines, and the courts at all levels have consistently rejected challenges to this type of mandate," the union continued. "Therefore, NFFE has determined it will not legally challenge the Executive Order requiring federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19."

"NFFE believes no employee should be fired in connection with this mandate," the union stated. "NFFE is in discussions with the Administration regarding progressive discipline for employees who remain unvaccinated. NFFE also remains concerned that any disciplinary actions taken by agencies are defined in advance and are administrated consistently and fairly. As those discussions continue, NFFE encourages everyone who is able to get the vaccination. The CDC has found that unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19." 

In addition to the statement, the union has published its own guidance document advising on the Office of Personnel Management's Order on the matter. 

Reader comments

Mon, Oct 18, 2021

What a joke! I really hope everyone abandons the NFFE. Spineless!

Wed, Sep 29, 2021

This year, I've stopped over in Bangor, Maine and Sofia, Bulgaria on deployment to Afrijan, and Buehring in Kuwait. Been to Al Assad and PSAB in Saudi, too for the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce. I brought pizzas to the guys in quarantine and never got sick. The more I try to see if I can get some Covid, the more it never happens. Just like influenza, Covid is not something I don't have to worry about and you want to tell me what- that it's not about Freedom and your patience is wearing thin? That natural immunity is a fairy tale? How many shares of Pfizer stock do YOU own?

Mon, Sep 20, 2021

As a Forest Service employee i always supported the NFFE. I will not support them any longer. You gave in NFFE. I hope everyone will drop support for you.

Mon, Sep 20, 2021 Kim

This is just sad. It is proven natural immunity is to be stronger than any vaccine! I also had COVID and I am just fine. Now they want me to get the vaccine which will now take away all of my natural immunity so, now when I am exposed again to COVID I will get sick...and lord knows how sick and now, I have to use my own sick leave till I'm better. Thank goodness I'm not a paying Union member.

Sun, Sep 19, 2021 Richard Walters Long Island

I am shocked that NFFE is going to allow this piss-ass President to force NFFE members to be vaccinated - I bet you lose a lot of members because your stance is short sited

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