The postal union that endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president is opposed to the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccine mandate for federal employees.
Members of the executive board of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 220,000 United States Postal Service employees and thousands of mail workers in private mail services, first voiced their public support for Biden in June 2020 because of “his record of advancing the cause of unions, his support for the public Postal Service, postal workers, and his opposition to postal privatization.” The union claimed Biden cared about the workers in the postal service and appreciated their hard work “serving the people at a time of incredible need” even when they “face[d] the prospect of closure” due to a lack of funding.
“The Executive Board fully recognizes and respects that our fellow members hold a wide array of political views and that their choices in this election will be a matter of personal conscience. However, the contrast in this presidential race is clear for postal workers,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Donald Trump’s policies have made it abundantly clear that he is a serious threat to our decent postal jobs, our unions, and to the right of the people to a public Postal Service. Joe Biden has committed to support the Postal Service and its dedicated postal workers. Our union will continue to help build the movement to defend the public Postal Service and win a more just society.”
The union’s latest statement, however, criticizes the Biden administration for its newest policy requiring civilian federal workers to get their dose of the COVID-19 shot and says such a mandate is “not the role of the federal government.”
“Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent,” the union’s official statement reads. “Issues related to vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 in the workplace must be negotiated with the APWU. At this time the APWU opposes the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to U.S. postal workers.”
APWU encourages voluntary COVID-19 vaccines, but at this time opposes #VaccineMandate. Issues related to this and testing must be negotiated with the union. https://t.co/fJOs01GlZH
— APWU National (@APWUnational) July 28, 2021
The statement stands in clear opposition to the rhetoric now coming from Biden, the White House, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have all changed their tune about pandemic mitigation multiple times. Despite previous promises to leave vaccine passports to the private sector, Biden began hinting at a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees earlier this week, after days of pressuring questions from the White House press corps.
“That’s under consideration right now,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday. “But if you’re not vaccinated you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were.”
Pres. Biden tells ABC’s @sarahkolinovsky that he is considering a mandate for all federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccines.
“That’s under consideration right now, but if you’re not vaccinated you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were.” https://t.co/nxUVBxdSFG pic.twitter.com/PaTE4FIe0Z
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 28, 2021
Just one day before Biden’s comments, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough announced he would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for health care employees working in Veteran Affairs. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also openly endorsed vaccine passports as a potential “path forward” in the bureaucratic agency’s attempts to “get the huge amount of disease in some of these areas down.”
“I know they’re doing it in Europe … but they’re issuing health passes there where, you know, you can go to a disco, or a discotheque as they like to call it there, if you have a health pass. Is that something that the CDC would ever lean into or perhaps advise here?” a CNN anchor asked the director on Tuesday.
“You know, I think some communities are doing that, and that may very well be the path forward,” Walensky said before doubling down on the CDC’s new masking recommendations for vaccinated people.
APWU did not respond before press time to The Federalist’s questions about whether its executive board regrets endorsing Biden for president.