There are three principles unions were founded on that are relevant and highlight the importance of the  question being brought to our members. Democratic rule, the belief that important issues should be brought to,  debated with and voted on by our brothers and sisters in order to determine where we stand. Health and safety is  one of the main reasons unions were formed, and still one of our most important functions, to ensure that our  members and our broader community are kept as safe as possible in how we perform our work. Solidarity is  where our unions gain our strength, knowing that one worker standing alone is nearly powerless, but when we  stand together we can achieve once unthinkable goals. 

The corporations we work for by and large are not democratic, we are told where to go, what to do and  how to do it for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, if not longer. These decisions are made by a board of directors and  the management they hire to implement those decisions. Our input into the decisions they make is minimal if not non-existent but as collectively bargained workers, we demand the right to have a say in the conditions of our  employment. The motion to send this question to our local membership was made by a member, in a  membership meeting and passed through democratic means. We believe that tough questions, important issues  and conditions that affect our workday should be brought to us the workers. We who do the labor and create the  value enjoyed by the corporation’s stockholders, should have a say in the decisions that affect us and our  communities. Top down, antidemocratic mandates are anathema to what we stand for.  

What complicates this is when the end result – mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for our brothers and  sisters as a condition of employment – is the same result that would be coming top down from our corporations  and government, this is where our other two guiding principles come into play. The COVID-19 pandemic has  greatly affected both the health and safety of not only our workplace, but truly everywhere we go. At the time of  writing this, we are approaching levels of cases nearing the highs seen in 2020 (with nearly 10,000 positive  results unable to be investigated by Idaho Health and Welfare due to their inability to keep up with the surge of  new cases). 97% of COVID-19 patients in ICUs across the valley are unvaccinated and they are younger than in  2020. Idaho is under a statewide declaration of crisis care – meaning that should you require medical care – even care not related to the pandemic – there is a good chance you will either not receive the medical attention you  need or that the care you receive will take longer/not be at standards we expect due to the overwhelming surge of COVID-19. Funeral homes are running out of room to store bodies and some schools are being closed due to  staffing shortages or COVID-19 exposures. 

We should stand in solidarity not only with the brothers and sisters of our local to keep us as safe and  healthy as possible, but also in solidarity with other members of the working class who are putting their health  and safety at risk to treat, serve and protect us. Our own brothers and sisters who are out in public daily,  healthcare workers, front-line retail and delivery workers & too many more to name deserve more than the lip  service they’ve been given. We must do what we can to help them during this truly critical time. Our working  class brothers and sisters in the labor movement have sacrificed their lives, their health and their dignity in order  to improve working conditions, keep our citizenry safe and to create opportunities for us, our children and our  communities to live better lives. We are being asked to sacrifice much less, to get a shot or two and to wear  masks and distance when possible.  

We ask you to talk to other members of our community, educate yourself on the vaccine and other  measures to keep you and others safe. To keep our healthcare system healthy and able to deliver care to those  who need it, and to recognize the sacrifice asked of us in order to protect the vulnerable and those who can’t  protect themselves. We ask you to vote in favor of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of our employment  not because you’ve been told to by corporate, government or national/local union leadership. We ask you to vote  for it during this crucial moment because you’ve thoughtfully educated yourself and chosen to hold yourself and  your brothers and sisters to a higher standard than personal wants and desires. To provide an example to other  workers in our communities that this is the right decision to minimize the length and damage this pandemic is  doing to all of us. In solidarity and with the consideration about the health and safety of our community, please  stay safe and do what you can to keep your neighbors, your loved ones and your colleagues as safe as possible.
– Mark Hatfield, Quantum Ambassador