Corporate, union reaction to Biden vaccine mandate for companies

(Reuters) – President Joe Biden will require all federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the U.S. Department of Labor will issue a rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly, officials said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, not pictured, walk across the South Lawn from Marine One to the White House in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The new measures cover about two-thirds of all U.S. employees, part of a broader, more aggressive attempt to get Americans vaccinated amid a surge in COVID-19 cases from the fast-spreading Delta variant.

Following are some of the latest reactions to the move.

UNITED AUTO WORKERS UNION

A spokesman for the United Auto Workers said the union is “looking at the details of the announcement and how it impacts our over 700 employer contracts and our members.” UAW President Ray Curry last month said he supported only voluntary efforts to get employees vaccinated, and said any mandates would need to be agreed through negotiation.

PENNSYLVANIA ATHLETIC CLUB OWNER

Jim Worthington owns an athletic club in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that has several hundred employees. He said he is pro-vaccine but opposes the government requiring business owners to force employees to get the shot. “It really puts me in an awkward position. I am pro-vaccine, but also pro-people’s rights. It would really depend on what they do if we don’t comply. Are they shutting us down? A financial penalty? A slap on the wrist?”

AMAZON.COM INC

“We know vaccines, coupled with widespread and convenient testing, serve as powerful tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, keeping the U.S. economy open, and protecting America’s workforce,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy for Amazon.com Inc. “We’re proud to work with the Biden administration to increase access to affordable, high-quality, FDA-authorized tests, to keep us moving toward a full recovery.”

FEDEX CORP

“We are reviewing the executive order issued on Sept. 9. The health and safety of our FedEx team members continues to be our top priority,” said Jim Masilak, manager of media relations at FedEx Corp.

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