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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

UPDATE: Unions Negotiating Impact of County’s Covid Vaccination Mandate

AFSCME Local 685, in coordination with the Coalition of County Unions (CCU), is currently 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.

In the negotiations, the CCU has united to bring unique expertise of unionized firefighters, physicians, engineers, law enforcement officers, and many more to provide expertise to an unprecedented bargaining process. Each of the 14 unions in the CCU have brought their own legal, technology, and other experts into the discussion, including one of the foremost legal experts in the county on vaccination negotiations. Together, we are focused on the benefits of a COVID-19 safe workplace while maintaining our individual medical, religious, and other rights.

Specifically, the CCU proposals have included:

  • A line-by-line rewrite of the dozens of pages in the County’s proposed policy and its associated forms and sub-policies, a rewrite that has taken place over dozens of hours of bargaining, producing significant changes in the County proposal.

  • The promotion of a healthy and inclusive workplace through education and incentive programs for both the unvaccinated and vaccinated.

  • Enhanced and clarified the medical exemptions, to include scientifically supportable “natural immunity” possibilities posed by prior COVID-19 infections.

  • An appeal process for exemption denials.

  • A direct challenge to the unrealistic timeline proposed by the County.

We continue to steadfastly:

  • Push back on unnecessary and legally unsupported intrusions into members’ personal information.

  • Challenge the effectiveness, controlled access, and overall security of the proposed data system.

  • Ensure that the “religious exemption” in the County’s policy tracks the requirements of State and Federal Law.

Negotiations are continuing and we will keep you informed as we move forward.

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