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USPS exempt from Biden vax mandate for federal workers

Neither rain, nor sleet … nor presidential proclamation.


President Biden on Thursday mandated COVID-19 vaccines for almost all federal workers, but the more than 600,000 letter-carriers and administrative staff of the US Postal Service won’t have to get a shot. 


The exemption was first-reported by Washington Post postal reporter Jacob Bogage, who reported that a White House official told him that “we strongly encourage them to comply with these standards” anyhow.



Biden on Thursday also announced a new Labor Department policy requiring workers at private companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. The USPS exemption was initially believed to allow postal workers to duck the private-sector mandate, too. 


More than 600,000 US Postal Service employees won’t be forced to get the COVID-19 vaccine. REUTERS 

 The USPS exemption was initially believed to allow postal workers to duck the private-sector mandate, too. But nearly four hours after that understanding was reported, the White House issued a clarification saying that postal workers will have a choice between getting vaccinated and getting tested once a week, just like workers at large companies. 


“USPS is not included in the executive order requiring vaccination of Federal employees. USPS has a separate statutory scheme and is traditionally independent of federal personnel actions like this,” a Biden administration official said. 


He added: “That said, USPS is strongly encouraged to comply. Also, [the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration] will cover USPS through the [emergency temporary standards], meaning that postal workers will be subject to the vaccination or testing policy announced today”


President Joe Biden lashed out on unvaccinated Americans, claiming “Your refusal has cost us all.” AP


Postal workers serve every community in the United States, often with daily door-to-door deliveries and contact with millions of Americans. 


Biden described his justification for a package of vaccine mandates in stark terms. 


“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said in a speech. “This is not about freedom, or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.” 


US Postal Service workers would be among the only federal employees to not be mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine. REUTERS

Biden on Thursday signed two executive orders: one requiring vaccination for most federal workers with limited medical and religious exemptions and another forcing federal contractors to also vaccinate their workforces. 


The separate Labor Department rule for companies with 100 or more employees comes with fines of up to $14,000 per violation.


According to CDC data, 75.3 percent of US adults have had at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. But vaccination rates vary among states and the national infection rate is as high as it was in late January when few Americans were vaccinated.


Data indicate that young peopleRepublicans and members of some minority groups, including African-Americans and Hispanics, are less likely to be vaccinated.


Many postal workers are represented by the American Postal Workers Union, which is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. 


 More than 75 percent of American adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine jab, according to the CDC. AP


A COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Brownsville, Texas on August 28, 2021. AP

A different AFL-CIO union, the American Federation of Government Employees, gave a noncommittal statement on the new mandates — saying that “workers deserve a voice in their working conditions.”

“We expect to bargain over this change prior to implementation, and we urge everyone who is able to get vaccinated as soon as they can do so,” AFGE said.



Source: New York Post

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