The recent death of an unvaccinated SIU member from COVID-19 and the cancellation of a turbo activation involving a different SIU-crewed vessel due to a coronavirus outbreak have underscored the importance of vaccinations.
As we’ve widely reported, there’s an October 1 COVID-19 vaccine mandate for crew members sailing aboard the union’s contracted vessels in the deep-sea sector. This requirement stemmed from an arbitrator’s decision after several of our contracted operators imposed it (for details, click/tap HERE).
Scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that the vaccines are safe and effective. That’s why they’re being required in the public and private sectors, including by some of the largest companies in America and by the Defense Department. It’s why President Biden on Sept. 9 announced plans to require vaccination of federal employees (including contractors) and vaccination or regular testing of workers at large businesses. That’s also why the SIU has been on board with vaccines throughout the pandemic (we objected to them not being treated as a bargaining item, rather than to the vaccines themselves).
Based on both formal and informal research, it appears most SIU members, officials and staff are vaccinated. We are far from 100 percent, however, and the consequences of that shortfall were seen with the recent death of longtime member Davon McMillan, the hospitalization of another member who’d been aboard the same ship (Resolve), and the outbreak aboard the USNS Bellatrix.
The pandemic is not done. As of this writing, an average of 1,500 people in the United States are dying every day because of COVID-19. The country is experiencing an average of 150,000 new cases daily. More than 653,000 of our fellow Americans have died from COVID-19.
If you’re not vaccinated, please get the facts and get the shot(s). Trust the information available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Protect yourselves, your families and your shipmates by getting vaccinated.