August 2, 2021
Mandatory Vaccine Question & Answer
This week, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Nury Martinez announced a proposal to require all city employees to either show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or to be tested weekly for the virus. Their proposal is similar to other jurisdictions, including the State of California, New York City, San Francisco, and Long Beach.
We know you have questions, as does UFLAC, about this plan and how it may impact you and your working conditions, privacy rights, and personal health. We want to be very clear, as of today, UFLAC has not been presented with any written policy proposal. We are, however, having ongoing discussions and have expressed our position that WE DO NOT SUPPORT A MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY.
Without a written plan to evaluate, we do not know the full scope of what the City is proposing. Regardless, UFLAC will do everything within our power to ensure that your contractual rights are protected, the provisions of our MOU are adhered to, and that the City complies with the law.
Here are some of the questions we have heard from many of our members along with our responses utilizing the best information currently available. It is important to remember that this is a very fluid situation and there is no written proposal to evaluate at this time. UFLAC will be meeting and conferring with the City over any and all proposed changes to working conditions and terms of employment:
Q: If I choose to provide proof of being vaccinated, how will I know my personal medical information will remain private? Who will have access to that information? How will I be able to transmit my proof of being vaccinated in a secure manner?
A: UFLAC will insist that any process implemented to provide proof of vaccination has redundant safeguards to protect your medical privacy and that only those personnel required to ensure compliance with the new mandate have access to your proof of vaccination. We will also insist that providing this information does not cause an additional burden (such as needless travel time, waiting times, or the need to provide redundant information) for our members.
Q: If I choose to be tested on a weekly basis, who will pay for this testing?
A: UFLAC’s position is that requiring testing is a change in working conditions and term of employment and thus the costs of any testing should be borne by the city.
Q: Where will the testing be conducted?
A: UFLAC will propose that testing occurs at locations convenient for our members (i.e. fire stations and work locations).
Q: Will I be required to be tested on or off duty? If off duty, will I be compensated for my time?
A: UFLAC’s position is that testing should occur on duty. If the City insists on requiring off-duty testing, UFLAC’s position is that this would be a condition of employment and that you should be compensated for your time.
Q: How will I be informed of the test results and who else will have access to that information?
A: UFLAC will insist that confidentiality is adhered to and that your results are communicated to you and only to an authorized representative of the Department so that appropriate contact tracing can occur if the result is positive. Return to work protocols after a positive COVID test will remain in effect.
Q: What is the latest information that has been provided by the City of Los Angeles on this issue? Where does the process currently stand?
A: As previously mentioned, the Mayor and the City Council President clearly stated their strong desire for a mandatory vaccine policy for all LA City Employees. This public announcement came on July 27th. The following day, City Councilman Mark Ridley- Thomas authored a motion that was co-signed by six other City Council Members directing the Chief Administrative Officer, the Chief Legislative Analyst, and the Personnel Department to report back to the LA City Council within 14 days regarding their recommendations for a policy on mandatory vaccinations. 14 days from the date of this motion would be August 11th.
UFLAC continues to speak with City leaders regarding the direction of this proposal and we have made our position clear. As soon as we receive a written proposal from the City, we will engage in the meet and confer process. If you have other questions, feel free to email the UFLAC Health & Safety Committee at [email protected] and we will do our best to get them answered and include them in a future update. We will keep you apprised of any major developments on this policy matter, which is still very fluid at this time.
UFLAC Health & Safety Committee
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City