WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing federal workers, today asked the Biden administration to delay the deadline for federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from Nov. 22 to Jan. 4, to ensure federal employees and federal contractors are subject to the same deadlines.
Although many federal employees work side-by-side with federal contractors, the administration has set two different deadlines for when workers need to be fully vaccinated. Last week, the administration pushed back the deadline for federal contractors from Dec. 8 to Jan. 4, while the deadline for federal workers remains Nov. 22.
“This double standard has caused confusion and distress among federal employees due to disparate treatment and incongruent deadlines for people who perform the government’s work in the same settings,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley wrote in a letter to the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients and the heads of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management.
“It is inexcusable that contractors are being given the entire holiday season to meet the mandates, while federal employees continue to be subject to the November 22 deadline. The effect upon morale of federal employees being subject to possible discipline at this time of the year cannot be overstated,” Kelley wrote.
AFGE shares the administration’s goal of ending the pandemic and appreciates the vital role of vaccination in this effort. However, setting different compliance deadlines for employees and contractors who work side-by-side “is both harmful to morale and substantively unjustified,” Kelley wrote.