Thursday, June 23 2022
Joe Biden speaks with attendees of the Iowa Federation of Labor convention at the Prairie Meadows Hotel in Altoona, Iowa on August 21, 2019. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Vermont public sector employers should be subject to President Biden’s mandate that companies with 100 or more workers require their employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine or be tested weekly.

President announced last week that he would order the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to adopt an emergency rule establishing such a mandate. The rule would apply to private employers nationwide, but 26 states also have pre-agreements with the federal government that require them to adopt and enforce all federal OSHA standards, including in workplaces. public.

Vermont is one of those states. The Labor Department confirmed on Friday that this means public sector employees in Green Mountain State would fall under the president’s immunization mandate, but officials stressed they would not know the full extent of the impact of the rule as long as they have not seen its text.

“We are still waiting for advice,” said Kyle Thweatt, spokesperson for the Department of Labor.

Since the federal government has yet to release its rule, it’s unclear at this point when it would come into effect.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 government workers can have three types of employers: school districts; surveillance districts; and surveillance unions, which serve as umbrella organizations for smaller districts. The Vermont Agency of Education said on Friday it estimated 60 of the 154 such entities would be subject to the new federal rules.

That still leaves many public school employers who will have to decide locally whether to require educators to be vaccinated. But Jeff Francis, executive director of the Vermont Superintendents Association, said he believes having an initial critical mass of school districts putting up mandates should make it easier for others to follow.

“I hope that if we move forward as a state system in this direction, it will help every employer because more and more will follow this guideline,” he said.

The Vermont-National Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union, has said it will support any requirements for vaccination of school workers, although it said implementation of such mandates should be negotiated at the level. local.

The public sector mandate would also likely extend to the University of Vermont as well as the Vermont State College System, both of which had previously announced vaccination mandates for students but not staff or faculty. State college spokesperson Katherine Levasseur said the system still needed to consult Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines to be sure. The state college system, which is separate from the UVM, employs approximately 2,300 workers.

Some 112,000 private sector workers at large Vermont companies could be subject to the federal vaccine mandate, according to the Vermont Department of Labor. This represents around 44% of the private workforce.

Nearly 7,000 federal employees residing in Vermont are also covered by the president’s tenure, VTDigger reported last week. All employees of the state executive, meanwhile, fell under a vaccination mandate put in place by the governor as of September 15.

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