Federal Employees News Digest

CBP Union: Mandate vaccine for arrivals

A major unit of one of the largest federal employee unions has been hit hard by COVID-19, and the union is applauding the federal government’s policy requiring proof of COVID vaccination for foreign nationals to be cleared for entry, if arriving by air to the United States.

But the organization is hoping to build on that policy, to arrive at a far broader requirement.

The labor organization—the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which is the umbrella representing approximately 29,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees at air, sea and land ports of entry to the country—is publicizing its call for more: what it wants is the proof of vaccine requirement to be applied at all sea and land border crossings, too.

“CBP employees have been on the job throughout the pandemic, processing legitimate trade and travel, interdicting illegal drugs and products, and inspect- ing cargo for invasive pests or disease,” Tony Reardon, NTEU’s president, said in a release. “The least we can do is to make sure everyone they come into contact with is inoculated against COVID-19 and has recently tested negative.”

“On any given day, thousands of CBP employees are face-to-face with deplaning passengers, cargo ship crew, migrants, asylum-seekers and routine border crossers,” Reardon added. “Extending the vac- cine mandate beyond those who work at the ports to those who also use the ports would make the federal workplace—and the entire country—safer.”

The union noted, too, that a DHS Inspector General report found that in March and April of this year alone, 157 CBP employees tested positive for COVID-19. The IG wrote that “without stronger measures in place, DHS is putting its workforce, support staff, communities and migrants at greater risk.”

There are 328 ports of entry to the U.S. More than 11,000 CBP employees have contracted COVID so far during the pan- demic, according to NTEU—and 43 have died of the virus.

2021 Digital Almanac

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