NS Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations for Employees

Norfolk Southern told its employees on Wednesday that they must be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Dec. 8.

In a memorandum sent to employees, NS said the move is in reaction to an executive order issued by President Joseph Biden and various related guidelines requiring federal contractors to require vaccinations for all employees.

The memo noted that NS is a federal contractor because it handles shipments of military vehicles and jet fuel for the U.S. Department of Defense.

NS is the second Class 1 railroad to announce an employee vaccine mandate. Union Pacific said on Oct. 13 it was requiring vaccinations by Dec. 8.

The mandates have draw opposition from three railroad labor unions, which are threatening work stoppages if the mandates are not rescinded.

The unions are the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

UP and the unions have both filed lawsuits over the vaccine mandate.

Railway Age columnist Frank Wilner wrote on the trade journal’s website that the unions are not directly opposing mandatory vaccinations but demanding that UP collectively bargain such a result.

The unions want the railroads to give their members additional pay for becoming vaccinated.

The text of the NS memo can be read at https://www.railwayage.com/freight/class-i/ns-requiring-covid-19-vaccinations-for-all-employees/

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