9/29/21: Through yesterday afternoon and evening, the County and the Coalition of County Unions (CCU), including PPOA and ALADS, met yet again to address impacts of the pending COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate. PPOA and the other unions of the CCU believe the County is seriously underestimating the impacts of this mandate to their workforce. During this negotiation session, progress on the details of proposed policies and protocols could not be attained. For this reason, the member unions of the CCU today filed IMPASSE documents!
Here is a synopsis of the facts as PPOA knows them:
- The COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Executive Order is still in place and requires of all County employees to demonstrate proof of vaccination by October 1, 2021
- Negotiations on the impacts of the COVID-19 Vaccination are at impasse, without resolution at this time
- No one will be disciplined/suspended/fired on October 1, 2021 as a result of not being vaccinated against COVID-19
- The County wants all employees to register in the Fulgent Genetics website/tracking system, REGARDLESS of vaccination status, by October 1, 2021, in order to gather more accurate data on the number of employees who are vaccinated, are not vaccinated, and the anticipated number or medical/religious exemptions needing to be addressed
- The report back from the CEO to the Board of Supervisors at the meeting of September 28, 2021 reflected the following numbers:
- 67,273 County Employees have registered with the Fulgent Genetics tracking system
- 58,865 County Employees of those registered are fully vaccinated,
- 1,627 County Employees of those registered are partially vaccinated,
- 5,966 County Employees of those registered are not vaccinated, and
- Approximately 44,700 County Employees have not yet registered
- PPOA has been allocating extensive resources to the COVID-19 pandemic and related legal issues since March of 2020, meeting with staff and legal team twice a week
- The “law of the land” regarding vaccination mandates is currently based on a 1905 Supreme Court Decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts. This case has been unsuccessfully challenged over forty (40+) times related to the COVID-19 vaccination mandates nation-wide.
- PPOA has gathered legal opinions and consulted with counsel from the Fraternal Order of Police, the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Association, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, all verifying the legal parameters of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, have no perceivable challenges at this time,
- The County, as an employer, has the legal right to your vaccination status
- PPOA and the associations above have dedicated their legal teams to tracking, monitoring, and exchanging information related to lawsuits filed within the state and country, in efforts to identify changes in strategy and/or potential judicial action
Speaking of strategy and lawsuits, PPOA, as well as many other unions, have become aware of various law firms operating statewide to step into the legal fracas on this issue. All we can say, is BUYER BEWARE! As described above, PPOA is utilizing every legal resource possible in our strategies. The current legal atmosphere does not bode well in challenging COVID-19 related mandates. Groups asking individuals for “donations” or “up-front fees” to fund temporary restraining orders, or other legal action may not have your best interest.
PPOA, as an organization, while an advocate of safety in the workplace, believes the the COVID-19 Executive Order, mandating all County employees to be vaccinated by October 1, 2021, to be draconian, resource intensive, and an unprecedented process which threatens the employment of County employees unnecessarily. PPOA and the CCU have maintained a collective stance:
- against any COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate that includes discipline
- continue to demand accommodation and/or testing options for our members who may not be defined within medical and/or religious exemptions
- continue to address with the County the unreasonableness of the timeline
However, with the information above, and the threat of potential discipline to members being ordered to comply with the policy, PPOA is advising members to consider their personal decisions carefully regardless of vaccination status. IF ORDERED by your respective Department (District Attorney, Medical Examiner-Coroner, or Sheriff) to register in the Fulgent tracking system, non-compliance could result in allegations of insubordination and future discipline. Only you can make this very personal decision.
Continue to monitor PPOA communications as further updates will be provided following additional negotiations meetings.