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Union backs region's corporate COVID-19 vaccination policy

The Region of Waterloo says it will require staff to disclose their vaccination status as of Sept. 27
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(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A union representing roughly 900 workers employed by the Region of Waterloo says it supports the region's new corporate COVID-19 vaccination policy.

The region announced this week it would require staff to disclose their vaccination status as of Sept. 27. It says employees who refuse to disclose or are not fully vaccinated will need to complete a course on the importance of vaccination and also submit to regular testing.

That policy is now getting a thumbs up from one of the unions representing Region staff.

"From a union point of view, this is probably the best for us," said Noelle Fletcher, President, CUPE 1883.

"People will have the opportunity to be educated another time and make a decision about whether they want to get the vaccine and, if they don't get the vaccine -- and of course we have those people who just can't -- they still have the opportunity to work which is, bottom line, that's my job is to keep people employed," Fletcher said.

As for the union members themselves, Fletcher admits some may disagree.

"We are from one extreme to the other," she said. "Some people are very concerned about their rights being violated and that it's not the employer's business to have some of this medical information, however others feel it hasn't gone far enough."

Fletcher says, whether your job is on the line or not, the union continues to suggest all members do get the vaccine.

"We do encourage members to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity, protect themselves, their families, their coworkers," Fletcher said. "We feel anyone who can get vaccinated should."

Both the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have also announced similar new vaccination policies.

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