aspen_banner.jpg
Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KNAU and Arizona News

No vaccine mandate for Arizona state utility workers

A health care worker in Rhode Island receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last December. California is implementing a vaccine mandate for all paid and unpaid workers in the health care industry starting Sept. 30.
A health care worker in Rhode Island receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last December. California is implementing a vaccine mandate for all paid and unpaid workers in the health care industry starting Sept. 30.

Workers at state-regulated utilities in Arizona can’t be fired for refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a policy a state commission adopted this month.

The practical effect of the policy is unclear because it conflicts with federal vaccination mandates for corporations that go into effect in January but still face multiple legal challenges, according to a report by The Arizona Daily Star.

The Arizona Corporation Commission approved it Dec. 15, prohibiting the state-regulated companies from developing, implementing and enforcing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination polices as a condition of employment.

Among others, it could affect Tucson Electric Power, Arizona Public Service Co., TEP and sister rural utility UniSource Energy Services.

Just over half of the employees surveyed recently at both TEP and UES said they were fully vaccinated. The survey allowed workers to opt out of declaring their status, the company said in a later statement.

TEP and UES have a combined workforce of about 2,100.