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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Murphy announces vaccination and testing requirements for health care, congregate living employees

Union says governor must bargain with them as part of contract

By Joey Fox, August 02 2021 1:25 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that employees of New Jersey’s health care and congregate living facilities must either be vaccinated or consent to weekly testing by September 7.

“To be clear, this standard is the absolute floor,” Murphy said in his weekly Covid briefing. “We are reviewing all available resources to set aggressive testing standards as quickly as possible in the state’s high-risk settings. To be clear, we retain the ability and the authority to go further if we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates within this worker population.”

Murphy added that private sector employers are free to have more stringent requirements, or to institute the state’s requirements on a faster timeline.

New Jersey’s branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) responded in a press release that they view the new requirements as bargainable under contract.

“We strongly encourage all New Jersey citizens, including AFSCME New Jersey members, to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” th union said in a statement. “However, it has been our stance from the beginning that if the State of New Jersey – or any employer – intends to mandate the vaccine or weekly testing, they must first meet with us to bargain over the impact of their decision.”

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