Employees of the federal government are joining by the thousands to attack Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate designed to compel them to receive the jabs.
They have formed a new organization, Feds for Medical Freedom (FMF), to make three distinct legal challenges to the federal employee and contractor mandate affecting around seven million people. FMF is making legal claims in different courts while also alleging its members are being harassed and coerced by government officials and coworkers. The first of the claims that could temporarily block the mandate could result as early as this week.
Biden has renewed his call for persuasion and pressure by private firms and governmental coworkers to place and enforce mandates following last week’s Supreme Court ruling that the administration’s mandate on large private employers is unlawful.
FMF has supporters from virtually every domestic federal entity and diplomatic posts and military installations worldwide. Since organizing last September, the group has grown to more than 6,000 members. The core group of organizers came from a network of State Department and Customs employees. The grassroots group has no paid staffers.
FMF has said in legal filings that there are an estimated 330,000 unvaccinated federal employees and 790,000 unvaccinated federal contractors implicated by the mandate. The group is a plaintiff in federal court actions pending Texas, Florida, and Columbia.
The D.C. lawsuit attacks the mandate based on the federal law that protects worker health and bans discrimination in the workplace based on disability. The case says the federal government is violating worker rights by punishing unvaccinated workers on the assumption that they are a danger to coworkers for that reason alone.
The case in Texas challenges the legal authority Biden claims to impose the mandate. The theory is similar to setting aside the mandate against private employers of 100 or more workers last week in the Supreme Court. FMF claims in that case that Congress did not expressly give Biden the power to enact the federal worker mandate.
FMF President Marcus Thornton is a State Department employee who says that workers are being forced to organize to challenge the mandate because public employee unions are refusing to act. He said some employees and contractors have already quit or retired to avoid hostile work conditions and legal uncertainty.