The Service Employees International Union has released seven principles that it is calling on employers, public health officials, and elected officials to follow during distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The principles were proposed by a committee of local leaders representing SEIU members and adopted by the Union’s International Executive Board where I serve as Vice President.
The 7 principles for the vaccination effort are as follows:
1. Vaccines are a proven technology to prevent the spread of disease. The COVID vaccine is a critical tool to protect our families, ourselves, and our communities as we fight to put an end to this deadly virus. We encourage SEIU members to take the vaccine.
2. Vaccine distribution must be equitable and transparent and must prioritize communities hardest hit by the virus including essential workers, people with underlying health conditions and disproportionately impacted communities of color.
3. Vaccines must be provided free of charge and workers should be provided with paid time off if the vaccination process requires them to miss work.
4. Employers must not use vaccines as a substitute for worker safety and infection control protocols nor for ensuring access to personal protective equipment.
5. Vaccine distribution plans must include education and outreach activities that involve essential workers and our communities deeply and meaningfully.
6. Outreach and distribution plans must recognize the impact of structural racism in causing trauma and heightened levels of distrust about vaccination in Black and brown communities.
7. The best approach to encouraging universal vaccination is through education and outreach, not through making vaccination mandatory.
SEIU District 1199 members across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, continue to call on government at all levels to take action to protect the health, safety, and financial security of working people. The principles outlined above are the latest step in working together to make sure that all workers are protected and so that we can bring an end to the COVID19 pandemic.
Becky Williams — President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH