The president of the largest union of health care workers in the United States says the organization will fight against companies requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employees.
George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East—which describes itself as the largest health care union in the country—said hospital systems don’t have the right to mandate vaccines for employees. The union, which is based in New York, also represents hundreds of thousands of nurses and caregivers in New Jersey, Florida, Washington, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
“Whether there is a legal challenge that we can make, or whether it’s just a pure organizational challenge that we can make, we are not going to just give in,” Gresham told local news website Gothamist this week.
Earlier in June, NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital in New York had mandated that its employees be vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, coming as other hospital systems across the United States have done the same.
The union president said that he’s vaccinated against the virus and has encouraged union members to get vaccinated as well. However, he told the website that workers “have the right to make their decision about their own health,” and met with NewYork-Presbyterian Chief Executive Steve Corwin to discuss unvaccinated union members’ concerns about the company’s policy.