The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), representing engineers and other professionals across the federal government, joined other fed organizations to endorse the recent White House policy change designed to encourage hesitant feds to get vaccinated.
The Biden administration—facing the bad news of the rapidly spreading Delta variant—this week issued a new and tougher policy for federal employees and contractors to follow in federal workplaces.
“[E]very federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” the July 29 White House announcement stated. “Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel.”
The purpose of the White House move is to dampen the explosive spread of the increasingly hardy COVID virus and accompanying health and economic damage. But also, by requiring the unvaccinated to submit to regular testing, it will encourage as many in the federal workforce as possible to get fully vaccinated, and cut the chance of future, even worse variants.
A number of federal employee organizations have expressed their support, including the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)—which has a large federal employee footprint at NASA, the Government Accountability Office, the Department of the Navy and others agencies.
"[IFPTE] fully supports a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for workers in the federal sector," Paul Shearon, the union's president, said in a statement. "This country is in the middle of a terrible pandemic, more than 627,000 Americans are dead, and we don’t want any more of our members dying."
“As a union representing federal workers it is incumbent upon us to make sure that our members’ workplaces are safe and healthy," he continued. "We don’t think either our members or their mission should be placed at risk by those who have been hesitant to take a shot."
“We do believe legitimate health and religious reasons exist for not getting vaccinated, but those individuals who fall into those categories should be regularly tested and must remain masked and practice social distancing while on the job," Shearon said. "We believe that the president’s executive order will allow for those exceptions ... This is not an easy decision President Biden made, but it’s the right one for our members and for the nation."
NEXT STORY: Masking rules back in federal workplaces