September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Steinberg requests new city employees be vaccinated before starting work

Local News

The Latest – Aug. 13

12:50 p.m.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has asked City Manager Howard Chan to require vaccinations of new city employees before they start work, effective immediately, the city announced in a news release Friday afternoon.

“We look forward to negotiating in good faith with our labor partners about how to get every City employee vaccinated with the utmost urgency,” Steinberg said in the release.

Original story below:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – After publicly expressing their opposition to a vaccine mandate, Sacramento’s firefighters union posted an email they received from the city notifying them that officials expect to implement stricter vaccine requirements, which could mean termination for those who refuse to follow them.

Sacramento Area Fire Fighters Local 522 President Chris Andrew has said union members — which include Sacramento firefighters — should have the right to choose between a COVID-19 vaccine or “another option.”

In a release posted Wednesday, Andrew said any employer that threatens employees with “get vaccinated or get fired” policies should be “shunned,” saying members are capable of educating themselves on making the best decision for themselves and their families. 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg openly disagreed in a written response, saying emergency medical responders are public safety leaders and that public safety should take precedent.

“It is highly irresponsible to insist that somehow this is a matter of personal freedom and choice,” Steinberg said.

Approximately 55% of Sacramento firefighters and paramedics are vaccinated, according to Steinberg.

In an email sent Thursday, the Sacramento Department of Human Resources told the firefighters union that it had originally planned to require all its employees to get vaccinated or require mandatory testing on a weekly basis.

Now, however, the city “anticipates” altering that requirement and ridding of the weekly testing option entirely. Instead, city employees would need to submit proof of full or partial vaccination by Sept. 1 or face “discipline,” which could involve termination.

Employees will have the option to request medical or religious exemption to the mandate, the Human Resources Department wrote to the union.

“Local 522 is disappointed that apparently the Mayor and City Council has decided that all city employees must be vaccinated by September 1st or be disciplined, up to and including termination,” the union wrote in Friday’s social media post.

Sacramento Area Fire Fighters Local 522 will have until Aug. 18 to request a meeting with the city’s Labor Relations Division to discuss the mandate.

“We look forward to meeting with the city in collective bargaining to come up with a reasonable solution that continues to deliver the same safe services to our community that our members have delivered since the beginning of the Covid outbreak,” the union wrote.

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