On Thursday, members from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East protested a large hospital group’s policy of COVID vaccination.
The policy states that employees, students, physicians, volunteers and vendors must all receive at least one COVID shot by September 1. Exemption due to pregnancy, religious or medical reasons must be applied for by August 1.
Protesters argued that they should not be forced to be vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. George Gresham, president of the union, is vaccinated and urges other to be as well. However, the union clearly opposes the mandate.
We have been promoting vaccination, but to make vaccination a condition of employment is absolutely wrong.Union Communications Director Cara Noel
Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that healthcare workers in New York City have the choice to be vaccinated or get weekly tests.
Many feel the mandate is unnecessary and believe people should have the right to choose. New York-Presbyterian is a private company, however, meaning they can make their own rules regarding vaccinations.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most important and responsible action we can take as caregivers and team members for the safety and well-being of our patients and visitors, our communities and ourselves,” the health system said. “The rise of the delta variant is a reminder that the pandemic is not over, and we must remain vigilant.New York-Presbyterian
The health system with approximately 48,000 employees claims that it will continue to address its workers’ concerns surrounding the vaccine and provide educational materials and other resources to those workers.
A New York City policy requiring weekly testing for the unvaccinated workers will go into effect very shortly on August 2.