Vaccine Refusals in Intelligence Agencies Raise GOP Concerns
Thousands of intelligence officers could soon face dismissal for failing to comply with the U.S. government’s vaccine mandate, leading some Republican lawmakers to raise concerns about removing employees from agencies critical to national security.
Several intelligence agencies had at least 20% of their workforce unvaccinated as of late October, said U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Some agencies in the 18-member intelligence community had as much as 40% of their workforce unvaccinated, Stewart said, citing information the administration has provided to the committee but not released publicly. He declined to identify the agencies because full information on vaccination rates was classified.
NYC Reaches Agreement With 4 Labor Unions on Vaccine Mandate; Fire Unions Push Back
New York City announced Thursday agreements have been between four of the city’s labor unions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The unions, DC 37, Teamsters Local 237, Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831, and SEIU Local 300, who collectively represent approximately 75,000 employees (excluding members employed at DOE or H+H), have signed the agreement on the mandate, which includes exemption requests and leave policies.
Firefighters’ unions say they were offered the same pact and have made the city a counterproposal, including a permanent option for weekly coronavirus testing instead of inoculation.
NYPD COVID Vaccine Exemption Requests Up in the Air for Foreseeable Future
It’s going to take a while to go through the more than 6,000 accommodation requests filed by NYPD employees who want to avoid getting the COVID vaccine, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Friday.
Cops filing for the accommodation on health or religious grounds were told that it could take upwards of a month before they receive a decision on their applications, police sources said. If it’s denied, the cop can appeal the decision, extending the fight over the COVID jab further, Shea noted.
LAFD Union Says Vaccine Mandate Could Lead to Public Safety Threat
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 President Freddy Escobar said the Los Angeles Fire Department could see a loss of resources and staff positions similar to the budget cuts in the department during the 2008 economic downturn.
Escobar, speaking at a news conference outside the union’s Westlake headquarters, predicted a “devastating impact on public safety for the city of Los Angeles” if the city loses firefighters. He said ambulances and trucks can’t operate without appropriate staffing levels.
Remote Test Proctoring Apps Are a Form of Mass Surveillance
During the pandemic, the use of eproctoring technology has soared, with one major company reporting its contract base has increased by an astounding 500%.
Unless the use of remote proctoring apps is halted it will continue to exacerbate racism and discrimination in education and desensitize students to compulsory mass surveillance.
De Blasio to Pay Kids $100 to Get the COVID Vaccine
The new policy will apply to New York City-run vaccine sites and comes two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer‘s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5-11-years-old.
The mayor also said that every public school in the city that serves children in the targeted age range will hold a dedicated vaccination day for those students beginning next week, which will cover about 1,070 sites over the course of the week by hitting roughly 200 schools per day.
How the OSHA Vaccine and Testing Mandate Might Play Out for Local Businesses
Local businesses and legal experts are poring over a 490-page document released Thursday to determine the implications of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate for large employers.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), meanwhile, said it “needs additional time” to determine whether it would be feasible to implement a similar mandate for smaller businesses with under 100 employees.
That isn’t welcome news for small business owners like Erinn Danielle, who runs Simply Erinn’s Unisex Hair Salon in Cambridge and isn’t vaccinated. She doesn’t think she should be forced to require her two employees to get vaccinated or test weekly.
All Those 23andMe Spit Tests Were Part of a Bigger Plan
23andMe Holding Co. Chief Executive Officer Anne Wojcicki’s plan was to turn genetics from the rarefied work of high-end labs into mainstream health and quasi entertainment products. First she’d sell tastemakers on her mail-in spit kits as a way to learn sort-of-interesting things about their DNA makeup, such as its likely ancestral origins and the chance it would lead to certain health conditions.
Eventually she’d be able to lower prices enough to make the kits broadly accessible, allowing 23andMe to build a database big enough to identify new links between diseases and particular genes.
Later, this research would fuel the creation of drugs the company could tailor to different genetic profiles. 23andMe would become a new kind of health-care business, sitting somewhere between a Big Pharma lab, a Big Tech company, and a trusted neighborhood doctor.
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Biden Says He Didn’t Want to Resort to Sweeping COVID Vaccine Mandates
Biden said in a statement, echoing claims made last week by his COVID-19 advisor, Jeff Zients, “There have been no ‘mass firings’ and worker shortages because of vaccination requirements. Despite what some predicted and falsely assert, vaccination requirements have broad public support.”
“While I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good,” Biden said. “So I instituted requirements — and they are working.”
Lawsuits Over Workplace Vaccine Rule Focus On States’ Rights
More than two dozen Republican-led states filed lawsuits Friday challenging President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirement for private companies, setting up a high-stakes legal showdown pitting federal authority against states’ rights.
The lawsuits ask courts to decide whether the administration’s effort to curtail the pandemic represents a federal power grab and usurps the authority of states to set health policy. At least 26 states filed lawsuits challenging the rule.
“This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a court filing in the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of 11 states.
California Town Declares Itself a ‘Constitutional Republic’ to Buck COVID Rules
A northern California town has declared itself a “constitutional republic” in response to COVID-19 health restrictions imposed by the governor, in the latest sign of strife between the state’s government and its rural and conservative regions.
The city council in Oroville, located at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 90 miles from the capital of Sacramento, adopted a resolution this week stating it would oppose state and federal orders it deems to be government overreach.
Republican Governors Lead Attack on Biden Vaccine Mandate
Republican governors began filing lawsuits on Friday to stop the Biden administration‘s requirement that nearly 2 million U.S. employers get workers tested or vaccinated for COVID-19, saying it trampled civil liberties.
After President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said on Thursday he will enforce the mandate starting Jan. 4, the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama jointly sued in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
“The federal government can’t just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday.
City, County Employees Protest COVID Vaccine Mandates
About 100 City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County employees are protesting their vaccine mandates, saying they’d rather get fired than vaccinated.
The workers are carrying signs and chanting downtown, saying getting the shot should be a matter of individual choice and they believe the mandates are a violation of their rights.
Gov. McMaster to Keep Cabinet Agencies From Enforcing Federal Vaccine Mandate
Gov. Henry McMaster has pledged to fight a federal vaccine policy. He spoke Thursday in Columbia, saying he was “stunned” by the latest Biden administration move.
“I will issue an Executive Order barring any South Carolina cabinet agency from issuing or enforcing any vaccine mandate,” he said.
“This is garbage and it’s unconstitutional so we will be fighting it. OSHA does not have the authority for this kind of mandate,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said.
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