AT&T has become one of the largest employers in the U.S. to mandate vaccines for a significant number of frontline workers.
The telecom company said Wednesday that its employees in the Communications Workers of America union will be required to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1, "unless they get an approved job accommodation."
CWA represents about 90,000 AT&T workers, the union said. It is the largest union at the company, which had about 230,000 employees as of the end of January.
The Dallas company said it is extending a vaccination policy that it set for managers in August that required them to be vaccinated by Oct. 11. Unlike the federal government's vaccine mandate for large employers, AT&T is not offering employees the option to take a weekly test instead of getting inoculated.
The federal mandate, an effort to push more Americans to get vaccinated, will cover as many as 100 million people. About 77% of U.S. adults have had at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CWA workers at AT&T can request an exemption for religious or medical reasons, and employees who are not vaccinated by Feb. 1 get a 60-day unpaid "reconsideration period" to change their minds, said union spokesperson Beth Allen.
The policy applies to employees who work in stores, customers' homes and other worksites as well as people who are temporarily working from home. AT&T's union employees include workers at cellphone stores, call centers and technicians.