CWA strongly supports vaccination to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease. CWA recommends that CWA members be vaccinated with an FDA approved vaccine to protect themselves, their families, their co-workers, and their communities. Vaccines are a proven infectious disease prevention tool. COVID-19 vaccinations will save countless lives and help prevent serious COVID-19 disease and potential long term health problems associated with COVID-19 (aka “long haul COVID”).
CWA supports voluntary vaccination programs and opposes mandatory vaccination as a condition of employment.
Employees should be able to get vaccinated without fear of lost wages, PTO or other bargained leave. Therefore, CWA encourages employers to allow employees to be vaccinated on paid work time to expand employee access to limited vaccine appointment availability and to demonstrate employer support for vaccinations.
CWA also encourages employers to provide an additional vaccination-related sick time benefit for those people who may have vaccine-related side effects, like fever, and may need to miss work temporarily. We encourage employers not to discipline or apply points to employees for absences caused by vaccine-related side effects.
Employers should bargain in good faith all conditions of workplace vaccine-related policies and procedures.
CWA strongly supports equitable and fair vaccine distribution. Barriers to vaccine access must be removed. COVID-19 vaccines should be provided free of charge with no out-of-pocket expenses. The federal government should bear responsibility for a coordinated, national vaccination roll-out and should prioritize funding for state vaccination programs and public health infrastructure. Federal and state governments must uphold the principles of equity and justice regarding vaccine access and distribution to ensure those in all geographic communities (urban, suburban and rural) as well as vulnerable groups including essential workers, older adults, people with underlying medical conditions, and people from disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups are able to be vaccinated in a timely manner. CWA recognizes and remains committed to fighting against systemic inequalities and racism in healthcare and public health systems.
In order to be effective, widespread COVID-19 vaccination in as short a timeframe as possible is crucial, but vaccines alone are not enough. Vaccinations must be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive workplace and community protections and precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and bring an end to the pandemic.
Employers must continue to provide appropriate personal protective equipment to employees and implement comprehensive workplace protections and mitigation strategies, such as improvements in ventilation, social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, cleaning/disinfection, keeping sick employees away from the workplace, quarantining exposed employees, and viral testing.
CWA will distribute science-based information and education about the vaccine benefits, risks, contraindications, and common misconceptions to CWA members to facilitate informed decision-making and consent. Updated information about vaccines and other precautions will be available on CWA’s website at cwa.org/covid.
CWA members who have concerns about COVID-19 vaccines and their own health conditions should consult with their personal healthcare provider.
Stay informed, be safe, get vaccinated and together we can end this pandemic.