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AFT President Says Union “Now Reviewing Vaccination Mandates”

But she said the union is “rethinking this and talking to our leaders” about the changes due to the virulence of the Delta coronavirus variant, the range of schoolchildren who are not yet eligible for vaccines and the expected decision. of the Food and Drug Administration to fully approve Pfizer’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine by early September.

“The main reason I hear about reluctance over and over again is that the FDA has not approved the vaccines, and that approval appears to be imminent,” Weingarten said. “So we’re talking to people across the country, talking to our leaders across the country about it, because we think it’s about protecting everyone.”

Key context: Weingarten promoted vaccination and recently announced that “more than 90 percent” of the union’s 1.7 million educators and school staff have been vaccinated against the coronavirus – along with “nearly 80 percent” of workers in the union. the health of the union.

Yet, as she reiterated her view that everyone should get the vaccine unless they have a medical or religious exemption last week, she said warrants should be a subject of mandatory negotiation between employers and employees.

Health workers, she said last week, were also concerned “that making vaccines mandatory outside of contract negotiation will only result in more people leaving the bedside at some point. where staff levels are already low due to the trauma of last year. “

New York state’s largest teachers’ union has also said it will oppose efforts to force educators to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before returning to school next month.

“We will support local efforts to encourage more vaccinations,” New York State United Teachers said this week. “What we did not support was a vaccination mandate.”

“Deep mistrust”: “The reason we have focused so much on doing it voluntarily is that there is such deep mistrust that it is going to create another battleground, not only in terms of educators but of families and children. others. Said Weingarten. “That’s why we were reluctant to have this discussion.”

“The difference now is that the Delta variant is booming,” she said. “And it’s very virulent, and there’s a group of kids who can’t get the shot.”

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