The California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), which represents 16,000 staff workers such as custodians and information technology technicians, has come out against the public college system’s mandatory vaccination policy for COVID-19.
“CSUEU objects to the unilateral change and is filing an unfair practice charge with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB)” the union announced. “We will demand the status quo be restored.”
The California State University (CSU) system rejected the union’s request for an exemption “for those who have not been vaccinated because of its Emergency Use designation by the FDA.” The system has a medical and religious exemption.
The CSUEU said the new policy is confusing and illogical. “CSU is announcing a garbled and improperly enforced health policy. Some campuses are requiring explanation of exemptions that are questionable, particularly in terms of religious beliefs,” the union said.
University officials have promised no punishment for people who refuse to take the vaccine — until a new round of contract negotiations can occur. “It is confusing to employees and managers alike and is misleading about the final policy requirements,” the union said in response.
With the mandate, CSU is backtracking on an earlier promise to only mandate the vaccination once it receives full approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Its July 27 news release cites “evolving circumstances” as justification for the reversal.
The policy covers all 56,000 faculty and staff members and the 486,000 students on CSU’s 23 campuses.
“While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent,” the APWU said, shortly before the Biden administration announced the requirement for federal workers.
Dawn Johnsen, the acting assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, wrote a legal opinion that says vaccines can be mandated by employers without full FDA approval, though OLC opinions are not binding. Roger Severino, former director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump administration, called the memo aa “shoddy” justification for government “bullying.”
Johnsen is a former attorney for the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
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