Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
11,000 Boeing Employees Have Asked for Exemption From COVID Vaccine Mandate
About 11,000 Boeing Co. employees have asked to be exempted from COVID-19 vaccines the planemaker has mandated, according to a person briefed on the matter, a sign of backlash among some rank-and-file workers to the Biden administration’s rules for government contractors.
Nearly 9% of the company’s U.S. workforce are balking at the policy, stirring up strife at a time when Boeing is working to turn around its finances, resolve quality lapses and starting to lay the groundwork for contract talks with its largest union. Reuters reported the extent of the pushback to the policy earlier.
White House Tells Businesses to Proceed With Vaccine Mandate Despite Court-Ordered Pause
The White House on Monday said businesses should move forward with President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing requirements for private businesses, despite a federal appeals court ordering a temporary halt to the rules.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, considered one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, halted the requirements Saturday pending review, writing that “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”
In its response Monday evening, the Biden administration asked the court to lift the pause, dismissing the states’ and companies’ claims of harm as “premature” given that the deadlines for vaccination and testing are not until January.
Northfield Hospital Sued Over Vaccine Mandate
The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, claims that Northfield Hospital and Clinics failed to accommodate “or even to attempt to accommodate” their religious beliefs and serious health conditions.
The plaintiffs include a doctor, 10 registered nurses and other medical staff including paramedics and occupational therapists. Nearly all of them were terminated on Oct. 31 after refusing to be vaccinated.
U.S. Judge Upholds United Airlines’ COVID Vaccine Mandate for Employees
A U.S. federal judge on Monday ruled United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) can impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on its employees that only provides unpaid leave for workers who are exempted for medical or religious reasons.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman in Fort Worth, Texas, rejected arguments by employees that the airline was improperly putting them in an “impossible position” by forcing them to choose a vaccine or unpaid leave.
The ruling comes as U.S. employers are gearing up to comply with rules issued by the Biden Administration that require companies with at least 100 employees to get their workers vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. read more
COVID Mandate: More Chicago Police Department Employees Comply With Reporting Requirement, Vaccination Rate Drops
More Chicago Police Department (CPD) employees have recorded their vaccination status on the city’s online portal but the response rate remains dismal, according to figures released by the city Monday.
The police department’s response rate climbed to 77.9%, which is up more than 4 percentage points from last week. The department remains the only agency to not be at least 80% in compliance.
The vaccination rate among CPD employees has steadily declined as more workers report their status. The department’s vaccination rate was 77.6% as of Monday, down from 83.8% on Oct. 18.
Thousands Protest in New Zealand Against COVID Rules
New Zealand beefed up security measures at its parliament on Tuesday as thousands of people gathered to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and government lockdowns aimed at controlling the pandemic.
While the demonstration was peaceful, many people were seen holding signs and placards with messages like “Freedom” and “Kiwis are not lab rats” and shouting slogans as they demanded the government roll back compulsory vaccination and lift restrictions.
Controversial Figures Like Bari Weiss Are Launching a University They Say Will Pursue ‘Truth’ and Combat ‘Censorship’ From Top Universities
A group of controversial figures is launching a new college in Austin, Texas, that describes itself as being “dedicated to the fearless pursuit of truth.” Several of the founders have said they faced “cancel culture” for their controversial opinions.
The University of Austin will be “a liberal arts university committed to freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and civil discourse,” according to the website, which claims that “others have abandoned this core mission of the university.”
The EU Is Proposing Blatant Mass Surveillance of Email and Chat Messages
A German member of the European Parliament is warning against EU plans to adopt new, wide-ranging mass surveillance rules that he says would seriously jeopardize citizens’ right to privacy by forcing tech companies to give access to encrypted messages to the authorities.
And that is what the laws now in the works in Brussels — that are supposed to replace temporary rules adopted in July — are designed to do, by ordering messaging and video chat providers like WhatsApp and Skype to put tech in place that would provide access to people’s private communications and, thanks to an automated system, monitor chats in real-time and report suspicious content.
Health Worker Vaccine Mandate Expected to Withstand Challenges
The Biden administration’s mandate that healthcare workers at facilities paid by Medicare and Medicare get a COVID-19 vaccination is likely to hold up against future court challenges, putting it on firmer ground than the vaccine-or-test rule for large companies that has already been halted, legal observers said.
The two rules released Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration represent a significant flex of federal muscle, testing the liberties and limits of the agencies.
The Biden administration is using the sweeping vaccine mandates to corner the unvaccinated into getting the jab. About 17 million healthcare workers fighting the pandemic from the front lines are covered by the rule, which is aimed at helping to keep staff and patients safe in an industry not immune to vaccine hesitancy.
The AP Interview: Facebook Whistleblower Fears the Metaverse
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen warned Tuesday that the “metaverse,” the all-encompassing virtual reality world at the heart of the social media giant’s growth strategy, will be addictive and rob people of yet more personal information while giving the embattled company another monopoly online.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Haugen said her former employer rushed to trumpet the metaverse recently because of the intense pressure it is facing after she revealed deep-seated problems at the company, in disclosures that have energized legislative and regulatory efforts around the world to crack down on Big Tech.
Richmond School Leaders Reverse Course on Vaccine Mandate Disciplinary Action
Monday night, the Richmond School Board voted to halt disciplinary action against school employees who don’t comply with their vaccine mandate — which required most employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct.1.
Originally, those who did not get vaccinated and did not have a medical or religious exemption faced discipline up to and including loss of employment.
But thanks in part to an overwhelming number of vacancies that already plagued the district, they’ve reversed course.