When it comes to mandatory vaccinations, we often relate the term with school children. But mandatory vaccine requirements are a large part of the healthcare culture. And more and more health workers are finding it challenging to deny flu shots into their lives.
This is something Union workers at Essentia Health recently learned the hard way when a judge denied their motion to remove the mandatory aspect of the shots. And now those workers who refuse the shot will be fired next Monday. This includes some of our fine, hardworking nurses.
According to TwinCities.com
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright, in an order dated Nov. 9, said the United Steelworkers had failed to establish that a preliminary injunction was needed to “prevent arbitration from being rendered a meaningless ritual.”
Duluth-based Essentia has announced that flu shots would be required this year as a condition for working or serving with the health system, with the exception of those who obtain religious or medical exemptions. The policy applies to employees, students who train at Essentia facilities, vendors at the facilities and volunteers who serve with Essentia programs.
According to the union’s request for an injunction, Essentia had said all employees who were not vaccinated and hadn’t obtained an exemption by Nov. 10 would be fired on Nov. 20 — next Monday.
“The purpose of the policy wasn’t to terminate any of our valued colleagues,” Essentia spokeswoman Miranda Anderson said. “We’re vaccinating people every day this week.”
As it stands, several hundred of Essentia’s health workers may be subject to job loss. Essentia boasts a 96% compliance rate as of today, however, they employ over 14,000 people. Doing the math, it appears that a few hundred are likely going to be filing for unemployment and job seeking elsewhere.
Essentia Health employee is likely one of those employees. She isn’t seeking an exemption and she’s not subjecting herself to the flu shot.
“This is about the abuse of power,” she said. “Forcing a person to inject a substance, whether they want to or not … is, I think, an infringement on my human rights.”
She has gotten an email from Essentia telling her she will be terminated on Monday, Beaulieu said. But she plans to show up for her 3 p.m. shift on that day.
This, folks, is the environment we are now asking some of our finest to work under. And it is a sad affair.