From Boeing to Mercedes, a U.S. Worker Rebellion Swells Over Vaccine Mandates
In Wichita, Kansas, nearly half of the roughly 10,000 employees at aircraft companies Textron Inc (TXT.N) and Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N) remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, risking their jobs in defiance of a federal mandate, according to a union official.
“We’re going to lose a lot of employees over this,” said Cornell Adams, head of the local Machinists union district. Many workers did not object to the vaccines as such, he said, but were staunchly opposed to what they see as government meddling in personal health decisions.
Roughly 2,300 members of the New York City Fire Department claimed they were sick and didn’t show up to work on Monday as the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers went into effect.
All city workers were required to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by October 29. City leaders suspect many of those who didn’t roll up their sleeves feigned illness to avoid being disciplined for failing to comply with the health requirement. Roughly 9,000 municipal workers were put on unpaid leave Monday for failing to meet the deadline and comply with the COVID-19 mandate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Nearly 90 NYPD Officers Forced to Go on Leave Over Vaccine Mandate
Nearly 90 officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) are being forced to go on leave for not complying with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday.
Shea told NY1 on Tuesday that 89 officers are on leave without pay for not complying with the mandate.
The number is a notable increase from Monday, when Shea told reporters that only 34 officers out of the roughly 35,000-strong workforce were placed on no-pay status for not complying with the mandate.
Facebook, Citing Societal Concerns, Plans to Shut Down Facial Recognition System
Facebook plans to shut down its decade-old facial recognition system this month, deleting the face scan data of more than one billion users and effectively eliminating a feature that has fueled privacy concerns, government investigations, a class-action lawsuit and regulatory woes.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Meta, Facebook’s newly named parent company, said in a blog post on Tuesday that the social network was making the change because of “many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society.”
Lawsuit Argues Augusta University Would Lose Substantial Revenue, Employees From Federal Vaccine Mandate
The Augusta Chronicle reported:
Augusta University is among the state universities represented in a lawsuit opposing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing that the requirement violates federal law. According to the lawsuit, if the mandate goes into effect, AU would stand to lose $17.1 million in federal contracts and their 200 affiliated employees.
According to the lawsuit, Augusta University, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia have a combined total of approximately 2,600 federal contracts and subcontracts.
It argues that the federal mask mandate makes an unreasonable requirement that anyone who had even fleeting contact with one of those federal contract workers would have to be at least partially vaccinated by Dec. 8. The lawsuit argues that the tally could be over 10,000 employees.
Judge Denies Order to Groups Fighting LAUSD Student Vaccine Mandate
The Los Angeles Mail reported:
A judge has denied a temporary restraining order sought by two nonprofit groups representing parents of nearly 1,500 Los Angeles Unified School District students who oppose the LAUSD’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate on grounds such decisions should be left to the state Department of Public Health.
The judge said the groups can still seek relief later through a preliminary injunction.
Teen Screen Time Doubled During Pandemic Lockdowns — Higher Stress, Mental Health Drove up Viewing
Adolescents had more than a mean of 8 hours of screen time in the early pandemic period, almost doubling pre-pandemic totals, researchers found.
A large national sample of 5,412 adolescents found that mean screen time rose to 7.7 hours/day from pre-pandemic estimates of 3.8 hours/day at baseline, reported Jason Nagata, MD, of University of California San Francisco, and colleagues.
They noted that the stay-at-home orders, online learning, and social distancing requirements have contributed to adolescents’ increased use of digital media, but that “this has not yet been explored using U.S. data.”
The Corps’ COVID Vaccination Deadline Is Coming. Marines Who Refuse Will Be Booted
The Corps will kick out every Marine who refuses the COVID-19 vaccine and fails to receive an approved exemption by the Nov. 28 deadline, a new administrative message said.
Barring an approved administrative, medical or religious accommodation, or a pending appeal, Marines who fail to meet the deadline will be processed for administrative separation, the MARADMIN said.
General court-martial convening authorities will “retain authority to take any additional adverse administrative or disciplinary action” deemed appropriate.
The Austrian Army Dogs Join Growing Global Pack of COVID-Sniffers
Austria’s army has successfully trained two dogs to sniff out COVID-19, it said on Tuesday, adding to a mass of evidence that dogs can be deployed to identify carriers of the virus.
Trials across the world from Thailand to Britain have found dogs can use their powerful sense of smell to detect the coronavirus with a high degree of accuracy, suggesting they could be regularly deployed as an additional line of safety at large events and border entry points.
Airports in Finland and Chile began deploying dogs to screen arrivals for COVID-19 last year.
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State Workers Suspended Over COVID Vaccine Mandate
The Daily News of Newburyport reported:
Hundreds of state workers have been suspended for failing to comply with Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate as administration officials begin to enforce the new rules.
As of last week, at least 362 executive branch workers — which includes the governor’s office and the Departments of Education, Environmental Protection and Labor — received five- or 10-day suspensions for failing to attest they have been vaccinated or sought an exemption, according to the Baker administration.
An additional 141 executive employees have quit their jobs in response to the vaccine mandate, officials said. Of those, at least 11 workers were fired because they did not want to get the vaccine.
NorthShore Temporarily Barred From Placing Workers With Religious Exemptions to COVID Vaccine on Unpaid Leave
A Chicago federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday preventing NorthShore University HealthSystem from placing 14 employees with religious objections to getting mandated COVID-19 vaccines on unpaid leave.
The anonymous employees were granted religious exemptions by NorthShore, but were set to go on a forced leave of absence Monday, using up their limited paid time off and facing termination if they didn’t get the shots by year’s end.
Why Flying Is So Bad and About to Get Worse
Canceled flights, packed planes, rising fares and violent outbursts are the new normal for air travel. Flying is getting worse for both passengers and crews.
Staffing shortages are leading to overworked flight crews and most of the canceled flights. Vaccine mandates could lead to even more staffing shortages. Less choice in flights has led to higher ticket prices. And altercations over masks have been the cherry on the top of a miserable year for travel.
Those issues will continue well into the holiday season — and perhaps they’ll get even worse.
Amazon Lifts Mask Mandates for Vaccinated Warehouse Employees
Amazon is lifting its mask mandate for fully vaccinated warehouse workers in the U.S. (via CNBC). The company reportedly sent out a notice to operations employees, stating that vaccinated workers are no longer required to wear masks starting Nov. 2.
Masks will still be required if state or local laws mandate them, however.
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