The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making a last-minute push to employees to get COVID-19 vaccines or face disciplinary actions. Some 72,000 of the roughly 240,000 employees are still not in compliance, according to agency records.
According to an email reviewed by Breitbart Texas, Randolph D. Alles, DHS Under Secretary for Management, warned employees Monday that they must take the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by close of business that day. This was the only remaining option for 30 percent of the department’s 240,000 employees.
In his email to all employees, Alles wrote, “It’s not too late to meet the EO deadline, employees who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine today will be in full compliance with the EO by November 22. Remember, you can use duty time today to go and get your vaccine.” Alles reference to EO was in reference to President Biden’s executive order mandating all federal employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.
Supplemental materials were included as part of the campaign, warning employees who wished to submit a religious or medical exemption also faced the Monday deadline to follow the executive order. Those materials spelled out the disciplinary consequences for remaining non-compliant with the mandate:
Employees who choose to remain unvaccinated and have not submitted a request for a religious or medical exemption will be subject to discipline, up to and including removal from federal service. If an employee’s request for an exemption is not approved, the employee will then have two weeks (14 days) from being notified of the denial to receive a single dose vaccination or the first dose of a two-dose vaccination and upload proof in VSS.
“VSS” refers to a tracking program developed for use by DHS to monitor the vaccination statuses of its 240,000 employees. The system will create a record to initiate disciplinary actions on employees who are non-compliant.
The federal employee disciplinary process is governed by existing labor law and administrative court decisions. Several agencies within DHS have separate and distinct labor union contracts which dictate how departments administer labor disputes, including how the disciplinary process is conducted. This will likely make pursuing employee discipline on a wide scale time consuming for the Biden Administration.
The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the labor union representing rank-and-file agents, says it is prepared to challenge any attempts to discipline agents per the mandate.
Jon Anfinsen, President of the National Border Patrol Council for the Del Rio Sector, says the agency cannot afford to lose any personnel.
“The National Border Patrol Council is absolutely opposed to the vaccine mandate, and our search for a legal path continues,” he told Breitbart Texas. “The Border Patrol cannot afford to lose a single member of its workforce while the crisis at the border continues to spiral out of control.”
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.