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Labor Perspective On Vaccination Mandates & Collective Bargaining Agreements From IUOE Local 94 Member Ben Kimmel, A Peer & Wellness Advocate

Published Sunday, August 29, 2021
by Ben Kimmel/Via
Labor Perspective On Vaccination Mandates & Collective Bargaining Agreements From IUOE Local 94 Member Ben Kimmel, A Peer & Wellness Advocate Editor’s Note: Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an author, writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at


Ongoing questions about COVID vaccinations still abound.

Some business owners and managers are mandating Employees get vaccinated or vacate their positions.

Workers, however, are firing back claiming that an action like this is not only unconstitutional - but, perhaps, a violation of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, as well as the Nuremberg Code (1947) regarding permissible medical experiments, largely because the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), until recently, has not fully approved any of the controversial vaccines. 

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate remains a huge argument among many.

Beliefs are strong on both sides of the issue.  

Nevertheless, COVID is still a threat.

It is clear that since the introduction of the vaccines, both COVID morbidity and mortality rates are down - but the problem persists.

None of the vaccines guarantees you will not contract the virus.

I believe the right to choose should be equally as free as the right for a person to change their mind - I say this, especially now, following the death of vaccine skeptic and Nashville Super Talk 99.7 WTN Talk Show Host Phil Valentine.

Valentine was a vaccine skeptic before testing positive for COVID-19.

His opinion, however, changed.

Sadly, Valentine recently passed away from the virus.

There does not need to be an argument.

There does not need to be any name calling.

However, I believe the right to choose and the right to refuse is a right that cannot be unwritten or changed.

As a Health Care Worker, I made the decision to be vaccinated during phase one of the vaccination process.

I chose to speak with a doctor whom I trust and by the end of January, I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

This was my choice.

I was not forced or coerced.

I chose to be vaccinated because this was my right to do so.

I am not part of a flock, nor do I cosign with any political narrative.

Instead, I chose to exercise my freedom of choice

And since I strongly believe in the freedom of choice, I question whether or not mandating vaccination violates Employer/Union Rights and Obligations as proposed by The National Labor Relations Board [(NLRB).

Where is the topic of vaccinations covered in our Collective Bargaining Agreements in our Union Books or within our Union Contracts?

How can employers mandate an order to vaccinate or vacate with no formal language in our agreements that discusses the mandate of medications?

I will say this, it was nice to see a slight return to normalcy.

It was nice to believe that we were moving closer to a resolution.

But like a perfect storm, COVID and its variants and the arguments abound have refused to let us go.

So what do we do?

The answer is simple: stop arguing.

Stop trying to change outside opinions and keep the focus on controllable items, such as honoring the safety and health guidelines, adhering to social distancing protocols, wearing a mask, keeping work stations clean, washing your hands and taking good care of yourself.

Otherwise, the virus wins.

Vaxxed or not, nobody wants to lose to this, right?

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