Action Alert: Bill to require COVID-19 vaccine for all Employees in CA
AB 1993 would require all employees
to be vaccinated for COVID-19
Take Action: 1) Make an appointment TODAY to meet with your CA Assembly member today to discuss AB 1993
– Not sure who that is, enter your address here: https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
– Not sure how to set up a meeting and build a trusted relationship with your legislators, watch this webinar: https://youtu.be/NGwnwAcJJZ4
– Not sure what to say: Talking points are below for you to take to use for your State Senator meeting
– Want to share this information with others: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/action-alert-bill-to-require-covid-19-vaccine-for-all-employees/
2) If you are a business owner, call your local Chamber of Commerce and City Council, and ask them to oppose AB 1993
– Not sure how to reach your Chamber of Commerce, find their contact here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VPqnDz4-wZ7brQx-cquFm-4-rh-LM5_0vQO5vuPv8oI/edit?usp=sharing
3) If you are part of a Union, call your Union representative and Union Labor Relations representative and ask the union to oppose AB 1993
Background: A Voice for Choice Advocacy has sounded the warning for the past few months that at least five BAD vaccine related bills being considered for the 2022 legislative session. The next of those, AB 1993 was introduced last week, by Assembly Members Wicks, Aguiar-Curry and Weber and co-authored by Senators Newman, Pan, Wiener and Dodd and Assembly Members Quirk and Stone.
AB 1993 Employment: COVID-19 vaccination requirements (Wicks) AVFCA Bill Analysis: AB 1993 would require both private and public employers to require all employees or independent contractors to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, until the CDC determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals. Financial penalties would be imposed on employers who fail to comply. The requirement would not apply to a person who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief. (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB1993)
A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s concerns with AB 1993 are as follows:
- The bill is arbitrary: There is no scientific evidence that requiring the COVID-19 vaccine of all employees in California will reduce infection, transmission or severity of cases and number of deaths within the workplace or the local community.
- The outcome of the bill will not prevent COVID-19 infection or transmission: Available vaccines were not designed to stop the transmission of COVID-19, greatly evidenced by the omicron variant’s infection and transmission among fully vaccinated persons.
- The outcome of the bill will not protect employees and the community: Again available vaccines do not prevent transmission, and so vaccinating employees will not affect COVID-19 rates in the community.
- The bill does not account for natural immunity: Over 20% of Californians have tested positive with COVID-19, and many more likely have unknowingly had asymptomatic COVID-19. According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7104e1.htm) natural immunity was six times stronger during the delta wave than vaccination. While there is no conclusive data available yet, omicron infection may provide even greater immunity via infection because it apparently infects the cells differently.
- The bill creates undue burden on employers: The California workforce is already stretched beyond capacity with local businesses struggling to stay operational, due to staff shortages. Adding a vaccine requirement which would restrict about 25% of employees who are unvaccinated (or significantly more if boosters are required) from working, would cripple employers, as we have seen in places such as Santa Clara which has required boosters of all healthcare workers, causing significant staff shortages. (https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/26/in-a-joint-letter-six-unions-from-across-county-sectors-say-booster-mandate-will-harm-staffing/). Employers should not be burdened with collecting private medical data, and enforcing such a law.
- The bill is unnecessary: The Local County Public Health Officers have the statutory ability to require take any and all actions they deem necessary if there is a threat of an endemic. Over the past two years different parts of California have been affected by COVID-19 at different times and to varying degrees. Given the continued uncertainty of what COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines hold for the future, legislation is not needed at this time.
- The bill discriminates on race and income: COVID-19 vaccine uptake is lower among lower income, and ethnically diverse families, largely due to government mistrust. These communities have also been disproportionately affected by the virus, which means those communities could now be disproportionately armed with naturally-acquired immunity. Preventing these employees from working would put these individuals and their families at an even greater disadvantage than they are already at.
- The bill needs to ensure equity is given to those with medical, disability and/or religious beliefs: Per the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers must offer exemptions to those with medical, disability and/or religious beliefs, with reasonable accommodations (https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws). While most employers have been accepting exemptions, there is a wide diversity in reasonable accommodations offered. Employers in California are likely to see a significant increase in legal suits because they are unaware that unlike federal laws which excuse employers from providing religious accommodations if the business would suffer “minimal hardship”, in California, an employer must prove that the religious accommodation in question causes a “significant difficulty or expense” to the business. This cannot be hypothetical. It must be based in fact.
Worldwide COVID-19 is transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic, and the World Health Organization has warned against immune system overload with continued COVID-19 boosters (https://www.who.int/news/item/11-01-2022-interim-statement-on-covid-19-vaccines-in-the-context-of-the-circulation-of-the-omicron-sars-cov-2-variant-from-the-who-technical-advisory-group-on-covid-19-vaccine-composition). The key question A Voice for Choice Advocacy has and everyone should be asking is “What is the purpose of AB 1993 and is the bill language narrowly tailored to that goal?”
AVFCA Response: We strongly oppose this bill. We are reaching out and working with other employer/employee organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Unions and small business leaders to develop amendment requests if the bill moves forward in the legislature.
Over the past 7 years, A Voice for Choice Advocacy has established itself as the leading legislative organization lobbying in the California Capitol for your health rights. While A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s lobbying activity in the Capitol is important, your positive constituent relationships with your CA State Senator and Assembly Member and their staff are critical to assisting with A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s efforts in the Capitol.
Knowing how to create a trusted, professional relationship with your legislator is not always easy, and it can be hard to know where to start. Christina, who during 2015, spent ever Monday thru Wednesday in Sacramento lobbying alongside our seasoned lobbyist, learning the tricks of the trade, and since then has had hundreds of legislative meetings, has shared her knowledge in this video, so you can be as effective as possible.