The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has taken a formal position opposing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates for federal employees.
The Biden White House announced on July 29 that federal workers would be required to get the vaccination shots or “else face mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing, and other new rules.”
Applying to over 4 million employees, the administration confirmed that “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 statement also stated, “President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. The administration will encourage employers across the private sector to follow this strong model.”
The APWU stated on July 28 that “Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. It is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent.”
“Issues related to vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 in the workplace must be negotiated with the APWU. Currently, the APWU opposes the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to U.S. postal workers,” the statement continued.
The APWU endorsed Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election, citing “his record of advancing the cause of unions, his support for the public Postal Service, postal workers, and his opposition to postal privatization.” Last June, the union said that Biden stood by postal workers who were “serving the people at a time of incredible need” even when they “faced the prospect of closure” due to a lack of funding.
The APWU has more than 200,000 members who are U.S. Postal Service employees throughout the country and is a member union of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
The APWU’s position on the vaccine mandate is at odds with the AFL-CIO, representing over 12.5 million employees. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on C-SPAN, “President Joe Biden has done a great job on COVID. What we need to do now is get more people vaccinated, and I think the mandate is an acceptable way to do it.”