Employers such as Walmart, Tyson, and several hospitals are mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for some or all employees. Most workers who refuse to submit to the vaccine will be terminated. Some with medical or religious exemptions may be allowed to keep their jobs but will be subjected to harsh requirements and restrictions.
These corporations have a huge influence over Arkansas politicians, which means it will be difficult to pass legislation assisting the workers.
One bill is being called the “compromise bill,” Actually it is two identical bills HB1972 by Representative Josh Bryant and SB739 by Senator Kim Hammer This is good legislation and should be supported, however, it addresses only a small part of the problem.
The bills provide an exemption from the vaccine mandate if the employee has natural immunity. Immunity must be shown by the presence of antibodies, a T cell response, or proof of a previous positive test for COVID-19 or its variants.
The legislation only offers a lifeboat to employees with natural immunity. It offers nothing to other workers who are facing termination for refusing to be subjected to the vaccine. Unless the worker has natural immunity it does not help:
- An unvaccinated employee concerned about potential side effects knowing some have had debilitating side effects from the vaccine and some have died.
- An unvaccinated employee concerned about the unknown long term side effects of the vaccine or the potential side effects for her unborn child.
- An unvaccinated employee claiming a medical or religious exemption if the corporation rejects the exemption or accepts the exemption while putting the employee on twelve months of unpaid leave while calling that an accommodation.
- An unvaccinated employee who has been granted a medical or religious exemption but who must undergo harsh workplace requirements and restrictions.
While we support this legislation, if this is all the legislature passes to save jobs then it is not so much a “compromise” as it is “cover” for legislators who want to say they did something but without offending the big corporations that have imposed vaccine mandates.
Passage of the natural immunity exemption bill is a good thing. If no other legislation is passed to protect workers who do not have natural immunity, then the legislature will have left those workers to be like the 68% on the Titanic – sunk without a lifeboat.
Be sure to reach out to these Senators in particular, we will need their vote. Tell them to fight for medical and health freedom and that you are watching their votes and they will be held accountable.
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Contact your personal State Senator and State Representative as well as Speaker Representative Matt Shepherd and Senate Pro temp Senator Jimmy Hickey. Here is how.