LAS VEGAS (CN) – A federal judge restrained two hospitals from forcing nurses and other caregivers to get flu shots or wear surgical masks. Sunrise and Southern Hills hospitals may not single out nurses and force them to wear surgical masks if they refuse flu shots, but U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ruled that the hospitals could require all employees to wear masks without violating his order.
Service Employees International Union Local 1107 filed a constitutional challenge last week to new rules requiring its members to get a flu shot or wear a mask, and to wear a mark on their ID badge indicating their vaccination status. The SEIU said the imposition of the rules, effective Nov. 1, violated a collective bargaining agreement. It also sought to prevent an H1N1 vaccination policy.
The hospitals argued that the union’s request for a restraining order was unnecessary and premature. “It is a longstanding principle of labor law that … a union member’s obligation is to ‘obey now and grieve later,’ and that “if an injunction overriding this principle is granted, it will disrupt the parties’ settled expectations,” Healthcare Corp. of America wrote.
But Jones found that because most of the hospitals’ workers already had been vaccinated there was little harm in issuing the injunction, and that union workers “would suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief.”