Nearly 650,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service will be subject to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, the White House affirmed on Friday, Sept. 10, refuting an earlier report that said the agency would be exempt from the new federal regulation, The Washington Times reported.
In a statement to the Times, an administration official clarified that USPS is an independent entity within the executive branch and not subject to the federal worker mandate. However, it still falls under the mandate for companies with more than 100 employees under regulations from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“USPS is not included in the executive order requiring vaccination of federal employees. USPS has a separate statutory scheme and is traditionally independent of federal personnel actions like this. That said, USPS is strongly encouraged to comply,” the Biden administration official said.
“Also, OSHA will cover USPS through the ETS (Emergency Temporary Standards], meaning that postal workers will be subject to the vaccination or testing policy announced yesterday,” the official added.
The affirmation came after The Washington Post reported on Thursday night that USPS would not be covered by the vaccine mandate, quoting an administration official who said its employees would still be strongly encouraged to comply. The Post later corrected the error.
Reporter Jacob Bogage from the Post deleted his tweets that cited “a White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity” describing the carve-out for USPS.
Bogage replaced it with a tweet, “JUST IN: White House official now says USPS workers ARE part of the federal vaccine mandate order under OSHA jurisdiction, though technically not under the executive order.”
Many postal employees are represented by the American Postal Workers Union, which has been critical of vaccine mandates, saying in July that, “It is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent.”
The union endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential campaign.