Sumary of Unions split on vaccine mandates, complicating Biden push:
- The National Nurses Union applauded President Joe Biden’s proposal to require that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate their work force.
- In Oregon, police and firefighter unions are suing to block a mask mandate for state workers.
- The labor movement is torn over vaccine requirements — much like the country as a whole — wanting to both support its political ally in Biden and protect its members against infection but also not wanting to trample their workers’ rights.
- “Labor unions are a microcosm of the society we live in,” said Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of Cornell University’s The Worker Institute.
- “The same political divide we have right now exists within the rank and file of unions.
- Unions are a key part of the Democratic Party, and Biden has embraced them to burnish his blue-collar, middle-class image.
- Dissent in Biden’s own coalition may make it especially hard for him to implement new vaccination requirements.
- Some unions representing federal workers already objected to his push for inoculation among the U.S. government workforce, saying such matters involving new workplace requirements and discipline need to be negotiated at the bargaining table.