COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Update

As of October 29, 2021, the City of San Diego and AFSCME Local 127 concluded its effects bargaining over the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate. Although AFSCME Local 127 expressed several objections to the process and the content of the City’s Mandate, the city decided to impose its mandate.

We met over several weeks with the city to negotiate the mandate. Our main objection had to do with the City’s ultimate decision to terminate employees as a result of non-compliance. Currently, the city is dealing with several vacancies due to the pandemic. The idea of a mandate that has the potential of further reducing the city’s workforce could be devastating in some departments and catastrophic in others.

AFSCME Local 127 proposed several alternatives to termination and all of them were denied. In response to this hard line, we continued to negotiate in good faith. The following is a list of items that we opposed during the process and are still in objection to:

  • We objected to having any contractors that work in and around city employees not being held to same scrutiny as city employees.
  • We objected to the city not providing incentives to vaccinated workers.
  • We objected to the city not offering an appeal process for medical and religious and exemptions
  • We objected to the city not providing mandatory education about the efficacy of the vaccines to those who are unvaccinated.
  • We objected to the city not providing additional protection to probationary employees going through the vaccination process.
  • We objected to the city not providing 80 hours of COVID-19 paid time off for those who become infected with COVID-19 or who have adverse effects associated with getting the vaccine.
  • We objected to the city not rescinding the mandate when either the State or the City rescinds their declared emergency regarding the pandemic.
  • We objected to the city not considering immunity levels as an alternative to vaccination if the FDA eventually provides approval.
  • We objected to the city not automatically accepting proof of pregnancy as a medical exemption.
  • We objected to city not removing any and all documentation from an employees’ file if they We objected to the city not providing an additional 30 days for all employees to become compliant.
  • We objected to the city imposing discipline on employees that refused to provide their vaccination status.
  • We objected to the city’s refusal to allow employees to be rehired if they are terminated due to the mandate but eventually become vaccinated.

Although, the city made some changes to their original proposal based on our objections, AFSCME Local 127 remains in disagreement with several conditions of the mandate. Management has agreed to elevate our concerns to the Mayor’s office for further consideration.

At this point, the City’s mandate has gone into effect. If you feel you qualify for a Medical or Religious exemption, please submit it to the city as soon as possible. Please know that your Union will be providing representation for any member that is denied an exemption or accommodation, so please notify us immediately.