UNI Campus. (RI photo)

The faculty union at the University of Northern Iowa has filed a workplace safety complaint against the Regents with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Faculty union vice president Chris Martin, says the lack of mandates is creating an unsafe workplace. “That’s really tying our hands in terms of doing what would probably be the best in terms of safety and health for the classroom and returning to the university,” Martin says. “You know not only for the faculty members but for staff and all students too. I mean there are young people getting sick from COVID and some young people dying.”

Martin says voluntary mask-wearing is not enough. “What I don’t want to do is have to address the first person who is seriously ill or dies from COVID at a public university and I fear that that could be coming in the coming weeks unless something changes,” Martin says.

Faculty and staff say they’re particularly concerned about COVID risks for those with children under 12 and those with medical vulnerabilities.

(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)

(The headline of this story was updated on 8/22/2021 to reflect the union has filed a complaint, not a lawsuit.)