A U.S District Court in Texas today ruled that the Biden Administration does not have the authority to require federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and has placed a temporary injunction to block implementation of the government’s vaccine rule. This means that IBEW 1245 members working at federal properties, including the Western Area Power Administration and the US Bureau of Reclamation, cannot currently be disciplined by the government for declining the vaccine.
“This new ruling comes on the heels of two prior court rulings regarding the federal government’s vaccine mandates; all three have found that the government overstepped its authority in its attempt to unilaterally mandate the vaccine for millions of non-healthcare workers,” said IBEW 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean. “We have said since the beginning that, while we recognize the value of vaccines, we believe the mandates are wrong, both as a matter of policy as well as a matter of principle, and we are heartened to see the courts acting to protect workers’ rights on this issue.”
The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to appeal this ruling, and we will continue to monitor and report out to our membership any new developments. We are also closely monitoring the related OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, which, despite being all but struck down by the US Supreme Court on January 13 on procedural grounds, is still a live controversy until it is decided on the merits, or the federal government concedes its position in the matter.
With assistance of legal counsel, IBEW 1245 plans to file an amicus brief expressing its opposition to the federal employee/contractor mandate with the appropriate court(s) where legal action on that issue is pending. More details will be posted to our website as they become available. For the latest news and updates, visit www.ibew1245.com/covid19.