We want to thank all of our CCU partners, especially public safety, who held the line to help our seasonal, recurrent, and intern CCU members qualify for all we secured. Solidarity and strength in bargaining. We will be back at the fringe table in 9 months as more financial data and funding details are available through tax collection both property and sales tax.
COVID VACCINE MANDATE BARGAINING
Our members have been on the front lines of COVID-19 for the last 18 plus months braving the unknown. Adding to that the vaccine mandate which came down without labor collaboration or discussion and was disrespectful to our service throughout the pandemic. We are fighting this at the bargaining table where we have the legal means to negotiate solutions that fit everyone’s needs. The safety of our members is paramount. We have been supportive of the vaccine and safety gear from day one. Our membership is over 75% vaccinated and we have been lucky to avoid any deaths due to COVID but we have and continue to have members who are severely impacted by COVID. The disease is real and has taken its toll on our membership as well as on the nation's firefighters, both young and old, with two deaths at LA City UFLAC 112 - LAFD.
President Gillotte has appointed a diverse group of Local 1014 Board Members including President Gillotte, VP’s Lew Currier and Kurt Kobler, and Directors Chris Reade and Tony Carcioppolo to bargain at the table for this critical issue. At multiple meetings per week with our partners in the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) and public safety attorneys, we have been hammering out the details on the proposed vaccine mandate. The details of each proposal round have helped clear a path for our members to keep the public safe without mandate and or discipline.
"For the last 6 weeks we have been negotiating the negative impacts of the County vaccine mandate and the potentially devastating impact it could have on some public safety members," said VP Kurt Kobler. "Local 1014 believes in your right to choose. It has always been the position of Local 1014 and the CCU to vaccinate or accommodate. The accommodations we are negotiating for are the current workplace standards that the Department issued 16 months ago."
"Being unvaccinated myself, I am very optimistic with how the negotiations have been going," said Director Tony Carcioppolo. "We will continue to fight and protect all members!"
We would like to reiterate to all members regardless of their opinion or feelings on this matter, to be supportive of each other and stay away from divisive and harmful actions whether in person at the station or on social media. Remain calm and armed with facts, not fodder for the bloggers who simply seek to disrupt. We know we are fighting for a small percentage of our members who have not been vaccinated, and we would fight the fight even if it was one member. Remember you still work for a public safety organization, paid for by the citizens of Los Angeles. Be smart about your choices especially on social media when wearing your “LA County Fire Fighter” hat both on and off duty.
Additionally, as of now, there are no conditions for employment of medic school relative to the vaccine. The only item we are dealing with for the few medic students who are heading into clinical is negotiations with private hospitals over their own policies to require the vaccine to participate in clinical. We are working with the Department, DHS, and the hospitals to find solutions both short-term and long-term. If you do have any evidence and or facts to support any of our members or recruits being held down and “jabbed”, please contact us immediately so we can address it.
Finally, we have seen some discussion about AB 455 and State Orders. Please see the FAQ below on the issues brought to our attention:
Is there statewide vaccine mandate for firefighters?
There is currently no statewide blanket vaccine mandate for firefighters. A state public health order was issued in August requiring that all healthcare workers be vaccinated by September 30th – this order does not include EMTs or paramedics. A requirement was also instituted that all California state employees, including CAL FIRE firefighters, must either show proof of vaccination or be tested for COVID at least weekly, however this requirement is not a “vaccinate or terminate” policy.
What about AB 455?
It was heavily reported in the press that Assembly Member Buffy Wicks and others were amending her AB 455, which currently does not have anything to do with vaccines, with language that imposed a requirement that all employers require their employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
Assemblymember Wicks had been working with several of her colleagues on this proposal that would have imposed the same requirement on all CA workers, that exists today for State employees via the recent public health order – workers would need to be vaccinated or get a weekly COVID test. There were rumors that the proposal would also have imposed a proof of vaccine requirements on certain types of public venues.
President Rice directed the Legislative team to insist upon strong meet and confer protections in the bill, paid time off for any impacts of getting a vaccine (separate from the current COVID supplemental sick leave that is available until Sept 30) AND asking that the language pre-empt local action to do something more restrictive, should the language be added to the bill. As you may know – pre-empting local action runs afoul of local control and is always a hard sell in the Legislature but that was our ask.
Earlier this week, Assembly Member Wicks announced that it is not moving forward this year. See press release here: https://a15.asmdc.org/press-releases/20210830-proposed-vaccine-verification-bill-hold-until-2022.
Are there any other vaccine mandate bills on the horizon?
At this time there are no proposals that would mandate vaccines statewide or for workplaces. The deadline to amend bills is Friday, September 3rd, and the legislative session ends on Friday, September 10th.
What other vaccine or COVID bills are out there?
The situation in the legislature is extremely fluid at the moment, as there are many discussions happening on many different facets of this topic. Discussions are ongoing regarding a proposed bill from Assembly Member Evan Low, which would amend the existing bill AB 1102 to clarify the legal backing for employers to require that their employees be vaccinated. While it is unclear if that proposal will move forward, it may potentially be tied to or folded in with other proposals.
What is the status of emergency paid sick leave?
Currently, supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 is set to expire at the end of the month on September 30th. A coalition of labor unions is currently negotiating what a potential extension of this sick leave may look like, but time is short and the situation is changing rapidly. Business interests would like to see the COVID sick leave extension tied to vaccine mandates or clarifying measures like the Low bill described above. CPF is following these developments closely and will provide updates as they become available.
We continue to watch the Federal, State, and Local authorities on vaccine mandate, including DHS and our EMT and PM Licensure requirements. This evolves daily with our efforts in each venue to protect our members and impact our working conditions. While much attention is on our members objecting to the vaccine, we want our members who have embraced the vaccine or expressed concerns for their safety of the safety of their families members, some of whom have had family members pass, to know we hear your concerns and are in receipt of your emails and the concerns raised to stay safe at work. We are balancing all of these perspectives with member safety in mind. We know not everyone will have an impact from exposure to COVID, but we know that having even one member who has COVID affect their health and livelihood is devastating. We have members who fight to survive as we speak.