A week ago on October 29th, Rep. Steve Drazkowksi sent this letter to the Rochester Post-Bulletin. It wasn't published. Today 11/4/2021, the Biden Administration released their OSHA regulations for employers with over 100 employees and their rules for Health Care settings. By January 4th all employers over 100 will have to implement these rules including requiring employees to provide vaccine status to their employer and be vaccinated or submit to regular testing unless they work from home. Health Care employers have only 14 days to comply with their rules which do not include the option to test regularly for COVID instead of getting vaccinated.
In the last few weeks, I have spoken to dozens of Mayo Clinic employees who are on the brink of losing their jobs. Why are they in this predicament? Because the leaders of Mayo Clinic are mandating that every one of their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. If any employee refuses vaccination, they will be fired.
Under the Mayo Clinic vaccine mandate, employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be placed on unpaid leave on December 1st. All employees who are still not vaccinated by January 1, 2022 will be terminated.
I absolutely oppose vaccine mandates. People must be allowed to make the medical decisions that are right for them. No one should be fired from their job because their employer unilaterally changes their employment contract. As such, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota’s largest employer, has some explaining to do.
Like many vaccine mandates, Mayo Clinic claims to offer religious exemptions. To get this exemption, employees must apply and wait for Mayo Clinic to review their applications. How outrageous! Who is Mayo Clinic to evaluate the authenticity of a person’s religious beliefs?
In addition to devastating hardworking doctors and nurses, Mayo Clinic’s mandate will also harm patients. Mayo Clinic is prepared to fire world-class physicians over this mandate. Patients will undoubtedly suffer. Why would a premier institution like Mayo Clinic want to damage our healthcare system this way?
In Minnesota, we believe in medical freedom. In fact, we enshrined it in law. Minnesota Statutes 12.39 explicitly states that: “individuals have a fundamental right to refuse medical treatment, testing, physical or mental examination, vaccination, participation in experimental procedures and protocols, collection of specimens, and preventive treatment programs.”
Firing good employees simply because they are exercising their rights is simply unamerican. Yet Mayo Clinic seems intent on pursuing this course.
One major question needs answering: Where did this mandate come from? My constituents, many employed by Mayo Clinic, deserve an honest, forthright answer to this question. Is Mayo Clinic instituting this vaccine mandate on its own, or are they hiding behind the illegitimate vaccine mandate from President Biden?
In early September, President Biden announced a sweeping vaccine “mandate.” President Biden said he would require businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for their employees.
However, President Biden never signed an executive order to that effect. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has supposedly drafted the rules that enforce this mandate, but no one has seen them. Has Mayo Clinic seen them?
If no executive orders have been signed and no OSHA rules have been released, then this “mandate” does not carry any force of law. Even if the Biden Administration had done both things, the mandate would remain entirely unconstitutional. No president gets to make their own laws. Fortunately, multiple states are already preparing to challenge President Biden’s legal authority on this issue.
In essence, the president of the United States simply stood at a podium and said that he really, really wants people to get vaccinated.
Mayo Clinic knows that President Biden’s vaccine mandate does not stand up to scrutiny. As such, they cannot credibly hide behind his actions. Nevertheless, Mayo Clinic appears to be using President Biden’s words as a cover to enforce their own vaccine mandate.
We need Mayo Clinic to answer for themselves: Is Mayo Clinic instituting this vaccine mandate on its own, or are they hiding behind the illegitimate vaccine mandate from President Biden?
Your employees and Minnesotans look forward to your answer.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski
Minnesota House of Representatives