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Union voices concerns about strict vaccine mandate

Boehringer Ingelheim confirmed on Wednesday it will require its U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.

Posted: Oct 6, 2021 7:05 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2021 8:57 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Boehringer Ingelheim confirmed on Wednesday it will require its U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.

The pharmaceutical company, one of the largest employers in the St. Joseph area, provided a statement that reads in part,

“As a science-based company, we consider the COVID-19 vaccine to be an important public health measure. This policy is intended to maximize vaccination rates against COVID-19 among Boehringer Ingelheim’s US workforce. The goal is to protect, to the greatest extent possible, our employees, their families, and the broader community from COVID-19 as we all do our part in the fight against the worldwide pandemic. It will allow us to deliver on our commitment to provide treatments and therapies to the customers, patients, and animals that need our medicines and support.”

Boehringer Ingelheim said all U.S.-based employees have 8 weeks from now to complete COVID-19 vaccine regimes if they would like to continue to work for the company. Boehringer is also considering medical and religious exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 2 met Monday at Stoney Creek Hotel to update union-represented workers about the company’s stance and hear from its members. Local 2 representative Chad Price said the union is pro-vaccine but it’s also pro-choice. He said the company has given employees an ultimatum: vaccination or termination. He said the company’s vaccine requirements are stricter than other area companies and federal agencies.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is set to unveil the details of its new workplace rule, which private companies with more than 100 employees will be subject to, requiring all employees to be vaccinated or get tested weekly.

Price said Local 2 members are calling on Boehringer Ingelheim to dial its vaccine requirements back and let employees choose weekly testing or vaccinations.

UCFW Local 2 has 13,581 members across the Kansas City metro area.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s full statement is below:

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to providing a work environment that protects the health and safety of its workforce. Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and consistent with this commitment to workplace safety, Boehringer Ingelheim is requiring all United States-based employees to complete an FDA authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccination regimen as a condition of continued employment by December 1.

As a science-based company, we consider the COVID-19 vaccine to be an important public health measure. This policy is intended to maximize vaccination rates against COVID-19 among Boehringer Ingelheim’s US workforce. The goal is to protect, to the greatest extent possible, our employees, their families, and the broader community from COVID-19 as we all do our part in the fight against the worldwide pandemic. It will allow us to deliver on our commitment to provide treatments and therapies to the customers, patients, and animals that need our medicines and support.

Boehringer Ingelheim has developed a clear process for employees to request medical or religious accommodations, which the company will consider on a case-by-case basis.

This policy complies with all federal, state, and local laws and is based upon guidance provided by the CDC, OSHA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other public health and licensing authorities as applicable.    

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It was a pleasant start to the weekend with sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid 60s. A cold front moving through the area will bring us down into the 30s for lows overnight with gusty winds up to 20 mph. This will keep our highs in the 50s on Sunday under mostly sunny skies with mild winds from the southwest. Temperatures will quickly start to warm up again on Monday with highs in the mid 60s. Rain chances look to stay minimal into next week. Temperatures are forecasted to stay above average for the first day of December on Wednesday.
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