County Announces Vaccination Policy; 685 Demands to Meet & Confer
By now many of you have heard the news about Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis’ Executive Order Following Proclamation of Existence of a Local Emergency Due to the Novel Coronavirus-COVID-19 (click here to read Executive Order). Like you, we have been following media reports of other public agencies, including the City of Los Angeles, the State of California, and the Federal government establishing mandatory vaccination policies for certain public employee groups.
As part of the Coalition of County Unions, we have met in anticipation of a possible vaccination mandate from the County and met with the County CEO’s office this week in anticipation of a Board of Supervisor’s Agenda Motion on this subject scheduled for the upcoming Board meeting (click here to read Board motion).
To all Local 685 members, we want to be clear that we, and the Coalition of County Unions, believe that the implementation of any vaccination policy is a mandatory subject of bargaining and is subject to the State and County Meet and Confer requirements. The County has not presented any vaccination proposal to the Coalition of County Union or to Local 685. In this legally mandated process, your Executive Board intends to fully press members’ rights in relation to a vaccination mandate. We are prepared to request a Demand to Meet and Confer over the Solis Executive Order.
For those members who may come within a medical or religious purpose exemption, we intend to press the County to ensure the announced policy fully accommodates you. For members who have personal reasons for declining a mandatory vaccination, we intend to press vigorously for a reasonable and practical accommodation. For those members who intend to get vaccinated, we want to make sure that you are able to do as seamlessly as possible within your work schedule.
These continue to be trying times, and your Executive Board is committed to making sure that each member of our Local 685 family is protected. We are not in the business of taking political sides in the public vaccination debate. We are in the business of protecting every single member to make sure that the County respects and accounts for your rights in the workplace. We know that the political debate has many of us engaged sometimes in heated discussions. We hope that we remember in the middle of such debate that we are Sisters and Brothers looking out for each other every day.
Over the past 18 months, we have seen all of us rise to meet the challenge of providing not just "essential," but truly vital, probation and children services, placing our own health in harm’s way. In these times, we have looked to each other and supported each other as Sisters and Brothers, and this latest order by the County will not deter us from continuing to be our family (one that argues, for sure, but still family)!