As previously reported, AFSCME Local 685, in coordination with the Coalition of County Unions (CCU), has been involved in lengthy negotiations with the County over the Board of Supervisors’ COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Under California law, unions have the right to bargain over the “effects” of a mandatory vaccination program, though the employer has the management right to make the decision to have a mandate in the first place.
On Wednesday night, after another marathon session, talks broke down between the County and the CCU when County negotiators steadfastly refused to bargain in good faith over members’ legitimate concerns regarding privacy, the scope of the propose medical condition exemption, and the consequences for an employee’s refusal to take the vaccine. Today, the CCU filed impasse and requested a mediator.
The Coalition proposed alternatives to disciplining employees for not taking the vaccine. For example, the Coalition proposed to incentivize employees to be vaccinated by the County by offering a personal leave day for all employees who are vaccinated by a certain date. For those employees refusing to take the vaccine, the Coalition proposed that they be required to wear masks at work and be tested before entering the workplace as alternatives to disciplining these employees. The County maintained their insistence on disciplining employees who so refused to take the vaccine.
The County insisted on publishing to the employees in their Policy, Corrective Action Plan, and Forms representing they are implementing their proposals in these and other areas of negotiation.