News & Commentary

September 15, 2021

Mackenzie Bouverat

Mackenzie Bouverat is a student at Harvard Law School.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Albany on Tuesday entered a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a New York state health department rule requiring health care workers workers in hospitals and nursing homes to get a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27, for those employed in public institutions, and October 9th, for those employed in private institutions. The injunction arises from a case, Dr. A. v. Hochul, 21-cv-01009, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York (Albany), involving a group of 17 medical professionals sued New York Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials to invalidate the law. The plaintiffs in the case claim that the mandate violates their religious beliefs, as the vaccines were tested, developed or manufactured using cell lines from aborted fetuses. 

On Tuesday, Arizona also filed suit against the Biden Administration’s employer vaccine and testing mandates, seeking a declaration that the mandates are unconstitutional in the the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. As Tascha reported on September 10th, the mandate requires businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or test weekly for Covid-19. Arizona’s lawsuit argues that Biden lacks authority under the U.S. Constitution to require vaccines. The complaint also contends that the mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, as U.S. workers face discrimination compared with undocumented persons who are given the option whether to receive the vaccine.

The Teamsters Local Union 362 has filed an application with the Alberta Labour Relations Board to hold a vote to unionize workers in an Amazon facility located in Nisku, an Edmonton suburb. The facility employs between 600 and 800 workers, who will be the first Canadian Amazon employees to hold a unionization vote. The Alberta Labour Relations Board must verify the application before a date is set, but the union expects a vote before the end of the year. “Amazon won’t change without a union,” Teamsters National President François Laporte said in a statement. “Be it on job security, pace of work, discrimination, favoritism, or wages, the company has proven itself to be profoundly anti-worker.”

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