Teachers Union Boss Weingarten Weighs Vaccine Mandate

Newsmax

“Rethinking” a one-time vow to oppose vaccine mandates, the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is now considering getting behind it. “We’re considering all alternatives, including looking at vaccine mandates,” Weingarten told Politico on Thursday, potentially giving in to pressure after having said mandatory vaccination for teachers should be negotiated between employers and employees but “not coerced.” “Our view has been that to create trust — to start the school year off right with our communities, we should continue on the voluntary route and continue to persuade people.” The American Federation of Teachers is the second largest teachers union in the United States and influential as a donor to the Democratic Party. The AFT donated almost $3.9 million to Democrat candidates in the 2020 election, which represented 99.64% of all its donations to political candidates, according to OpenSecrets.com. Weingarten cited the delta variant and the potential the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving toward full approval of the Pfizer two-dose vaccine by early September, the start of the school year in many U.S. states. “The single biggest reason I hear repeatedly about hesitancy is that the FDA hasn’t approved vaccines, and that approval seems to be forthcoming,” Weingarten told Politico. “So, we’re in the midst of talking to people around the country, talking to our leadership around the country about this, because we believe that this is about keeping everybody safe.” The AFT is already highly vaccinated, according to Weingarten:

“More than 90%” of the 1.7 million-member educators and school staff

“Nearly 80%” of member healthcare workers

While some might note the oddity of healthcare workers being less widely vaccinated, Weingarten admitted that subsection of membership has expressed concern “mandating vaccines outside contract negotiation will only result in more people leaving the bedside at a time when staffing levels are already low from the trauma of the past year.”

Weingarten is worried of a “battlefield” issue of mandating vaccines because of a “deep distrust.”

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