NJ man fired over COVID-19 vaccine mandate says testing should always be an option
As the United States Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, a New Jersey man is taking a stand against his job.
The Supreme Court case is for the president’s attempt to mandate the vaccine at large companies and for health care workers. But this conflict is still playing out on a smaller scale across New Jersey.
“I’m not a COVID denier. I believe in testing,” says Ralph Ventre.
Ventre says he is willing to pay for weekly testing. But this is not an option at his place of employment. Ventre is now out of a job after 15 years with the Northeast Conference, an NCAA league based in New Jersey. He was the assistant commissioner for communications for the conference. But he was fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
While state employees, teachers and health care workers are required to be vaccinated, in most cases, they can choose to get tested for the virus instead.
But this is not the case at the Northeast Conference. The organization tells News 12 New Jersey that Ventre is unable to execute his job given the vaccine mandates in place at four of the league’s colleges. The mandate would preclude him from attending any on-campus, in-person regular season or championship events.
But Ventre says that there are other ways around this issue.
“I could be assigned a game at Saint Francis in Pennsylvania, which has no mandates,” Ventre says.
He does admit that the league can do what it wants. But he questions how far that will go. The Supreme Court will have the final say to a large extent on vaccine mandates. Arguments are set for Friday.
A growing number of vaccinated people are testing positive for COVID-19. But health experts say that it is still true that more unvaccinated people get the virus than those who are vaccinated. In New Jersey, 25% of cases in mid-December were among the vaccinated. The latest numbers out of New York are similar.
But Ventre says he is steadfast. He says he has beaten the virus once and will do it again. He says that this also goes for his next job – wherever it is, a vaccine mandate will be a deal breaker.