WE’RE WORKING ON IT: GSU members, COVID-19, and mandatory vaccinations

As the Delta variant has become the predominant strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, the debate about vaccination has shifted. It is now pretty clear that proof of two-shot vaccination is starting to be adopted in various places and jurisdictions as a precondition to engaging in a growing list of activities. This is no less the case in workplaces, particularly those falling under federal jurisdiction, as large employers such as Canada’s major banks have announced workplace entry vaccination policies applicable to their employees.

“I fully expect the vaccination issue to come up in relation to workers represented by GSU; especially since about 60 percent of members of the union fall under federal jurisdiction,” said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. “We are consulting with GSU’s legal counsel and monitoring the evolving debate.”

Wagner reports that a preliminary meeting on vaccination policy has already been set with one major employer. He adds that when GSU’s Joint Executive Council (board of directors) meets on Sept. 24 it will likely discuss whether the union should have a policy on vaccination and the workplace.

“Even if GSU adopts an overall policy, each bargaining unit of the union has significant autonomy to determine their own position on workplace issues in their Local, including the response to mandatory two-shot vaccination as a pre-condition to going to work,” Wagner said. “Add the duty of fair representation to the equation and the issue becomes even more complex.”

More reports and coverage of this issue will be carried her and on GSU’s web page as the situation unfolds.

If you need some advice about how to approach management with a problem, don’t hesitate to call your GSU staff rep. No problem is too small and sometimes a brief comment, email, or meeting is all that’s needed to address a situation. Call us when you think there is a problem to be fixed.