As of December 27, 2021, with limited exceptions, all workers in New York City must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to their employers upon entering the workplace. NYC Mayor de Blasio has signed Executive Order 317, and Health Commissioner Chokshi has issued an “Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace.”
This is a very fluid situation with new information coming out each day. However, any unvaccinated members should expect the implementation of the NYC mandate to be in effect as of Monday, December 27. In order to work through this transition, Local Union No. 3, IBEW and NYECA have negotiated an agreement that allows for a one-week temporary layoff for the week of December 27 for unvaccinated individuals. If the order is still in effect on January 2, 2022, then by January 3, any unvaccinated member must have the first dose of vaccine or a pending exemption request, or else they could be put on furlough if eligible, or they could be subject to a layoff. This temporary layoff is for members working under the ‘Agreement and Working Rules’ of the Construction Division including ‘A’, ‘M’, ‘G’, Telephone, RE/RW, Tele Data, ADM, and Expeditors.
If any member is unvaccinated after January 2, 2022, and the order still stands, then the Joint Industry Board Employment Department will deem that member unavailable for work. It is unclear at the moment if an unvaccinated individual who gets laid off will be eligible for unemployment. Because such a member is deemed unavailable, medical coverage will end and the Joint Board will send those individuals a COBRA notice for continuing coverage.
Exemptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis by individual employers if they are requested before December 27, 2021 and will require documentation to be kept on record by the employer. According to the orders, members can continue working with a pending exemption request, and employers must make a determination in a reasonable amount of time whether any exemption will be accepted or denied. Even if an exemption is granted, the employer may not be able to make a reasonable accommodation and have a position in which to place an exempted employee (office location, shop, jobsite where an owner accepts unvaccinated employees, etc.).
Local Union No. 3, IBEW will continue to update the membership as new information arises or conditions change.