AT&T has become one of the largest employers in the U.S. to mandate vaccines for a significant number of frontline workers.
The telecom company announced Wednesday that all its employees in the Communications Workers of America union would have to be fully immunized by February 1st, “unless they obtain an approved job accommodations.”
According to the union, CWA represents approximately 90,000 AT&T workers. It is the largest union in the company’s 230,000 employees, according to the union.
Dallas said that it was extending the August vaccination policy it had established for managers that required employees to be immunized by October 11. AT&T will not allow employees to opt for a weekly vaccination test as an alternative to being inoculated, contrary the federal government’s mandate for large employers.
In an effort to increase vaccination rates in the United States, the federal mandate covers up to 100 million people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77% of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccines.
AT&T CWA workers have the right to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Employees who do not get vaccinated before February 1st are entitled to a 60 day unpaid “reconsideration period” in which they can change their mind. Beth Allen, union spokesperson, stated that employees who don’t get vaccinated on or before February 1st will be allowed to ask for an exemption.
The policy applies to employees working in stores, customer homes and other work places as well as temporary workers from home. AT&T has union workers who work in cellphone stores, call centres and technicians.