Micron Employees for Religious Freedom Press Release
Updated: Feb 14, 2022
MICRON EMPLOYEES FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (“MERF”) ANNOUNCE PLANS TO RALLY AT THE IDAHO STATEHOUSE LIBERTY BELL AND TO COMMENCE LEGAL ACTION IN OPPOSITION TO MICRON’S CONTINUING COVID VACCINATION MANDATE
Join us on Friday, Feb 18th at Noon!
All U.S Micron Sites – On September 3, 2021, Micron issued a COVID -19 "Vaccine" Mandate to all U.S. based employees. Prior to this sudden imposition of the mandate, Micron leadership misled Micron employees by stating multiple times it had no plans to take this action. Moreover, Micron’s mandate was issued prior to the federal vaccination mandate issued on Nov. 5, 2021, by OSHA for private sector employers with 100 or more employees. That major legal condition compelling a vaccination requirement has disappeared with the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of the OSHA vaccination mandate on January 13, 2022.
The Mandate - Micron claims to have “accommodated” all employees that applied for a religious exemption to being vaccinated. However, this is not an “accommodation,” it is a violation of the religious exemption provided by law. Micron’s accommodation was to place such employees on mandatory, indeterminate, unpaid leave. Compensation is an inherent part of employment. But Micron employees, still being employed, are also excluded from receiving unemployment benefits. Thus, Micron’s mandate is essentially a method of firing employees by hamstringing them so that they must comply or go unpaid. This “accommodation” is especially cruel because of its indeterminate nature.
Micron Employees Organize - The Micron Employees for Religious Freedom (MERF) organization, which was formed in November has attempted twice to contact Micron’s legal and employee relations team to find a diplomatic and agreeable solution for both the employees and the employer. Our first letter, sent on November 15th, was curtly rejected by Micron, which stated it would only deal separately with individual employees, and would not even discuss in a “group setting” the mandate and its enforcement and refused to acknowledge the voluntary outreach of MERF. The second letter was based on the testimony of Micron’s chief people officer, April Arnzen, who testified before the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on November 17, 2021, that she welcomed anyone who was struggling with the mandate to come and discuss it with her, and stated that the vaccination deadline was extended until the end of January, 2022.
Based on her testimony, the SCOTUS stay, and Micron’s Micron Playbook regarding COVID- 19, which states: “As conditions improve, these protocols will be relaxed according to site risk level and regional government requirements,” MERF again reached out to Micron by letter dated January 27, 2022, to Ms. Arnzen, but to no avail. This was particularly disappointing in light of Micron’s very public initiative targeting greater diversity, equality, and inclusion in their workforce. We, some affected micron employees, founded MERF as an organization to assist in collating data with respect to impacted employees of Micron.
Discriminatory Conditions Continue at Micron - To add insult to injury, Micron continues to engage in discriminatory behavior. Micron chose to keep those that they felt they needed, but punish them by making them double mask, test daily, and eat in a segregated area away from those that complied with their mandate. These employees have been disallowed to eat at the privacy of their own desks. Furthermore, employees that have complied with the mandate are trusted to test at home whereas those who have not, must be tested on site. We condemn this discrimination by Micron which claims again, to be averse to such behavior.
Despite the SCOTUS ruling and growing international consensus against the efficacy of the vaccine to combat an ever-changing virus, Micron continues to enforce its mandate to a degree exceeding even that of the federal mandate. Unvaccinated employees, and particularly those who sought religious or medical exemptions are subjected to the imminent threat of being fired at the whim of the executive team. Harassment measures such as daily testing, double- masking, and segregated eating areas continue to pervade “non-compliant” employees. Micron continues marching forward with its mandate despite a growing number of employers (Starbucks, Intel, etc,) that have rescinded their respective vaccination mandates.
MERF Supported By Many Vaccinated Employees – Many Will Be Wearing Green or Gold “MERF” Buttons At Work – Legal Action Planned - As a result of Micron’s unwillingness to deal in good faith, we have decided it is time for us to move forward with legal action. We are asking those affected by these unlawful, immoral, and coercive actions by Micron to join us in an effort to right this wrong. We have secured legal counsel to fight this conduct on legal, constitutional grounds. Many Micron employees have felt that their religious and philosophical beliefs have been under attack and felt that there was no place to go. MERF is that place. This decision affects more than people’s paychecks. This is bigger than a career. This is an individual’s own body and life. They should be able to make this decision independent of their employer. This mandate has created divisiveness in the workplace, which in turn has created a hostile work environment, discrimination amongst employees, and segregation of employees, and is further a direct contrast to the values Micron professes to champion.
You do not have to be a Micron Employee to join the fight against Religious, Philosophical, and Medical discrimination. Please visit https://www.merferg.org to support our cause and become a member. Please consider donating to MERF as it will most assuredly be an expensive battle. Micron Employees and Contractors affected by the mandate are encouraged to complete the survey on the website to allow us to easily glean contact info and details from those coerced, accommodated or otherwise affected by the mandate.
Benjamin D. Chafetz, President
MERF - Micron Employees for Religious Freedom
P.O. Box 190204, Boise, ID 83716