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Judge Orders United Airlines Not To Put Workers Seeking Vaccine Mandate Exception On Leave

Judge Orders United Airlines Not To Put Workers Seeking Vaccine Mandate Exception On Leave

By Zachary Stieber of Epoch Times,

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered United Airlines not to place workers seeking an exemption to the company’s…

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Judge Orders United Airlines Not To Put Workers Seeking Vaccine Mandate Exception On Leave

By Zachary Stieber of Epoch Times,

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered United Airlines not to place workers seeking an exemption to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on unpaid leave.

The temporary ruling was issued by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman so workers who filed for an exemption aren’t unduly harmed before he can hear oral arguments in the case.

Six United workers sued the company last month over its plans to put on leave any employees who requested religious or medical exemptions. The suit said the employees were effectively told they’d be terminated if they sought exemptions and alleged that the company was violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

United’s actions have left Plaintiffs with the impossible choice of either taking the COVID-19 vaccine, at the expense of their religious beliefs and their health, or losing their livelihoods. In doing so, United has violated Title VII and the ADA by failing to engage in the interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations, and also by retaliating against employees who engaged in protected activity,” the suit states.

United and the plaintiffs reached an agreement that the company would not place exempted employees on leave during a Sept. 24 hearing, Pittman said, obviating the need for an immediate ruling. He planned to hear arguments on a motion for a preliminary injunction on Oct. 8 but United the day before the hearing filed a partial motion to dismiss, alleging the court lacked jurisdiction over some of the claims.

The hearing was reset to Oct. 13. Ahead of the arguments, Pittman said he concluded it was necessary to issue a temporary restraining order that is effective through Oct. 31.

Absent entry of the order, “the parties’ stipulation will expire before the Court can rule on whether a preliminary injunction is warranted,” the Trump nominee wrote.

“If the parties’ stipulation were to expire without temporary injunctive relief in place, nothing would prevent hundreds of workers from ostensibly either: (1) being compelled to take a vaccination in violation of their religious beliefs or medical restrictions, or (2) being placed on indefinite unpaid leave by United,” he added.

United said earlier this month that 320 workers in the United States, or 0.5 percent of the U.S. workforce, were not in compliance with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

United told news outlets after Pittman’s order that “vaccine requirements work and nearly all of United’s U.S. employees have chosen to get a shot.”

“For a number of our employees who were approved for an accommodation, we’re working to put options in place that reduce the risk to their health and safety, including new testing regimens, temporary job reassignments, and masking protocols,” the airline said.

Mark Paoletta, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, told The Epoch Times in an email that United’s “refusal to provide reasonable accommodations to its vaccine mandate violates the federal civil rights protections of our clients, the hard working men and women at United,” adding, “We look forward to our clients’ rights being permanently protected.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 12:54

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International

Britain investigating Delta subvariant as possibly more transmissible

The UK Health Security Agency designated a Delta coronavirus subvariant called AY.4.2 as a "Variant Under Investigation," saying there was some evidence that it could be more transmissible than Delta.

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Britain says investigating Delta subvariant as possibly more transmissible

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – The UK Health Security Agency on Friday said it designated a Delta coronavirus subvariant called AY.4.2 as a “Variant Under Investigation”, saying there was some evidence that it could be more transmissible than Delta.

“The designation was made on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta,” UKHSA said.

FILE PHOTO: The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“While evidence is still emerging, so far it does not appear this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by James Davey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

Reuters source:

https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-says-investigating-delta-subvariant-possibly-more-transmissible-2021-10-22

 

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Government

‘Build Back… You Know, The Thing’: Americans Have No Idea What’s In Biden’s Economic Plan

‘Build Back… You Know, The Thing’: Americans Have No Idea What’s In Biden’s Economic Plan

While Congressional Democrats spar over the ultimate size of President Biden’s "Build Back Better" economic plan, Bloomberg astutely points out that..

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'Build Back... You Know, The Thing': Americans Have No Idea What's In Biden's Economic Plan

While Congressional Democrats spar over the ultimate size of President Biden's "Build Back Better" economic plan, Bloomberg astutely points out that Americans have no clue what they're signing up for with their tax dollars. In fact, according to a CBS News poll published Oct. 10, just 10% of Americans say they know the specifics of the bill, while only 1/3 think it would benefit them directly.

What's more, "Not even Congress knows what the bill would accomplish, with the contents of the plan changing day-by-day as Democrats squabble over how much it should spend, who it should benefit and who should pay for it."

For example, on Tuesday, the White House suggested it would jettison free community college. The next day, Democrats were focused on proposed tax hikes after moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) put her foot down over corporate and personal tax rates.

In an attempt to provide some clarity (don't hold your breath), Biden on Thursday night held a CNN town hall-style event (on the same night as Dune's US release).

In short, their messaging sucks.

"I will state the obvious, but they need to shift the focus away from process to policy. So far, the coverage around their proposal is all around Democratic divisions, which inevitably makes it impossible to sell," said former Marco Rubio communications director, Alex Conant. "Frankly, they need to talk about what their goals are," he added. "Why is this necessary?"

Republicans, on the other hand, are clear on their messaging; "Massive government spending leads to massive tax hikes," according to GOP strategist Ron Bonjean. "When you have a shifting number and shifting programs, it becomes confusing to follow."

Instead of focusing on the legislation’s new investments in child care, the elderly, education, healthcare and climate change, Democratic lawmakers have openly haggled over the price tag. A standoff between the party’s progressive and centrist factions has created cable news-ready drama.

Given how much is wrapped up in this package, it was always going to be a long and intense negotiation,”  said Ben LaBolt, a former spokesperson for President Barack Obama. “One way to start is to build the case for the way this will help middle class families and focus the public on those conversations, while at the same time preserving room for the closed-door negotiations to bring all of the elements of the party together for the biggest, most comprehensive approach possible.” -Bloomberg

In a Wednesday speech in Scranton, PA, Biden tried - and failed - to  convey how his economic agenda would help working class families - by intermingling stories about growing up in the area and programs contained in the legislation.

"Frankly, they’re about more than giving working families a break; they’re about positioning our country to compete in the long haul," said Biden, doing his usual poor job of reading a teleprompter. "Economists left, right, and center agree."

Meanwhile, Biden - let's face it, Biden's 'advisers' have failed to ink a final compromise between warring factions of Democrats. For the Build Back Better plan to pass, every single Senate Democrat must be on board. As moderates Sinema and Joe Manchin (D-WV) balk on the price tag and demanding deep cuts, progressive House Democrats are sure to similarly balk at passing the smaller, $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that's already passed the Senate.

While advocacy groups have started to spend heavily to promote policies in the plan, most of the discussion remains centered on its cost.

Biden’s advisers are banking on the presumption that ordinary Americans don’t pay much attention to the machinations of everyday Washington. Much as they were during the presidential campaign, the president’s aides are largely dismissive of what they call horse-race stories.

But Biden’s team had a much easier time selling his pandemic relief legislation, the American Rescue Plan, in March, with its convenient focus on three clear issues -- money for vaccines, money to re-open schools and checks sent directly to American households. -Bloomberg

"They haven’t laid out why we need this, other than Democrats are in power now and aren’t going to have it again for a long time," said Conant.

Good luck with that.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 08:51

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Government

Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story

Public health experts know that schools are likely sites for the spread of disease, and laws tying school attendance to vaccination go back to the 1800s.

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Children and parents lined up for polio vaccines outside a Syracuse, New York school in 1961. AP Photo

The ongoing battles over COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. are likely to get more heated when the Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, expected later this fall.

California has announced it will require the vaccine for elementary school attendance once it receives full FDA approval after emergency use authorization, and other states may follow suit. COVID-19 vaccination mandates in workplaces and colleges have sparked controversy, and the possibility that a mandate might extend to younger children is even more contentious.

Kids are already required to get a host of other vaccines to attend school. School vaccination mandates have been around since the 19th century, and they became a fixture in all 50 states in the 1970s. Vaccine requirements are among the most effective means of controlling infectious diseases, but they’re currently under attack by small but vocal minorities of parents who consider them unacceptable intrusions on parental rights.

As a public health historian who studies the evolution of vaccination policies, I see stark differences between the current debates over COVID-19 vaccination and the public response to previous mandates.

Compulsory vaccination in the past

The first legal requirements for vaccination date to the early 1800s, when gruesome and deadly diseases routinely terrorized communities. A loose patchwork of local and state laws were enacted to stop epidemics of smallpox, the era’s only vaccine-preventable disease.

Vaccine mandates initially applied to the general population. But in the 1850s, as universal public education became more common, people recognized that schoolhouses were likely sites for the spread of disease. Some states and localities began enacting laws tying school attendance to vaccination. The smallpox vaccine was crude by today’s standards, and concerns about its safety led to numerous lawsuits over mandates.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld compulsory vaccination in two decisions. The first, in 1905, affirmed that mandates are constitutional. The second, in 1922, specifically upheld school-based requirements. In spite of these rulings, many states lacked a smallpox vaccination law, and some states that did have one failed to enforce it consistently. Few states updated their laws as new vaccines became available.

School vaccination laws underwent a major overhaul beginning in the 1960s, when health officials grew frustrated that outbreaks of measles were continuing to occur in schools even though a safe and effective vaccine had recently been licensed.

Many parents mistakenly believed that measles was an annoying but mild disease from which most kids quickly recovered. In fact, it often caused serious complications, including potentially fatal pneumonia and swelling of the brain.

With encouragement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all states updated old laws or enacted new ones, which generally covered all seven childhood vaccines that had been developed by that time: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. In 1968, just half the states had school vaccination requirements; by 1981, all states did.

Smiling boy rolls up his sleeve to get a shot from a nurse
Sometimes, students even received vaccinations from nurses at school. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine, CC BY-ND

Expanding requirements, mid-20th century

What is most surprising about this major expansion of vaccination mandates is how little controversy it provoked.

The laws did draw scattered court challenges, usually over the question of exemptions – which children, if any, should be allowed to opt out. These lawsuits were often brought by chiropractors and other adherents of alternative medicine. In most instances, courts turned away these challenges.

There was scant public protest. In contrast to today’s vocal and well-networked anti-vaccination activists, organized resistance to vaccination remained on the fringes in the 1970s, the period when these school vaccine mandates were largely passed. Unlike today, when fraudulent theories of vaccine-related harm – such as the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism – circulate endlessly on social media, public discussion of the alleged or actual risks of vaccines was largely absent.

Through most of the 20th century, parents were less likely to question pediatricians’ recommendations than they are today. In contrast to the empowered “patient/consumer” of today, an attitude of “doctor knows best” prevailed. All these factors contributed to overwhelmingly positive views of vaccination, with more than 90% of parents in a 1978 poll reporting that they would vaccinate their children even if there were no law requiring them to do so.

Widespread public support for vaccination enabled the laws to be passed easily – but it took more than placing a law on the books to control disease. Vaccination rates continued to lag in the 1970s, not because of opposition, but because of complacency.

Thanks to the success of earlier vaccination programs, most parents of young children lacked firsthand experience with the suffering and death that diseases like polio or whooping cough had caused in previous eras. But public health officials recognized that those diseases were far from eradicated and would continue to threaten children unless higher rates of vaccination were reached. Vaccines were already becoming a victim of their success. The better they worked, the more people thought they were no longer needed.

In response to this lack of urgency, the CDC launched a nationwide push in 1977 to help states enforce the laws they had recently enacted. Around the country, health officials partnered with school districts to audit student records and provide on-site vaccination programs. When push came to shove, they would exclude unvaccinated children from school until they completed the necessary shots.

The lesson learned was that making a law successful requires ongoing effort and commitment – and continually reminding parents about the value of vaccines in keeping schools and entire communities healthy.

Add COVID-19 to vaccine list for school?

Five decades after school mandates became universal in the U.S., support for them remains strong overall. But misinformation spread over the internet and social media has weakened the public consensus about the value of vaccination that allowed these laws to be enacted.

adults and kids with signs protesting COVID-19 vaccines
Some anti-vaccination activists are vocal opponents of vaccine mandates for kids. Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccination has become politicized in a way that is unprecedented, with sharp partisan divides over whether COVID-19 is really a threat, and whether the guidance of scientific experts can be trusted. The attention focused on COVID-19 vaccines has given new opportunities for anti-vaccination conspiracy theories to reach wide audiences.

[Over 115,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Fierce opposition to COVID-19 vaccination, powered by anti-government sentiment and misguided notions of freedom, could undermine support for time-tested school requirements that have protected communities for decades. Although vaccinating school-aged children will be critical to controlling COVID-19, lawmakers will need to proceed with caution.

James Colgrove has received funding from the National Library of Medicine, the Greenwall Foundation, the Milbank Memorial Fund, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

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