Union Pacific, Workers Sue Each Other on Vaccination Requirements

Oct. 21, 2021, 3:03 p.m. ·

A needle goes into an arm injecting vaccine.
Michele Bever says getting 70 percent of people in her health district vaccinated would be ideal. (Photo by Jazari Kual, Flatwater Free Press)

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Union Pacific

Union Pacific, which is based in Omaha, and its workers unions filed separate federal lawsuits October 15th through the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.

The complaints center around President Joe Biden's September executive order that requires federal workers and federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Union Pacific falls under that umbrella since it's a contractor for the United States.

In its lawsuit, the rail company says it's requiring vaccinations for its workers to comply with the President's vaccination mandate and to also further prevent disruption to the supply chain.

The International Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union, said in its lawsuit Union Pacific did not negotiate with the workers on a vaccination plan, even though there are bargaining outlines in the Railway Labor Act. The union's President, Jeremy Ferguson, said that while he's encouraged workers to get vaccinated, railways such as Union Pacific should offer a testing option as well for those who choose not to get vaccinated.

Union Pacific announced earlier this month that it will require its workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8.