L.A. County Mandatory Vaccine Policy:
SEIU 721 Bargaining Committee Set to Negotiate
On Thursday, August 19, SEIU 721’s Bargaining Policy Committee (BPC) met with CEO representatives to review a draft of the County’s proposed Mandatory Vaccine Policy. While we encourage all members to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated against COVID-19, we will continue to vigorously defend members’ rights at work. The Union has issued a demand to negotiate over the effects of this policy, as well as the effects of the Mandatory Testing and Mandatory Vaccine orders issues in recent weeks by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Formal negotiations are expected to begin next week.
The union’s Bargaining Policy Committee is focused on several key issue areas of critical concern to SEIU 721 members:
Alternative to Vaccines: Under the County’s proposed policy and the CDPH order, the only exceptions to mandatory vaccination would be granted to employees with medical conditions or religious objections. Employees granted such exceptions would instead be required to get tested once or twice per week. The union’s Bargaining Policy Committee is calling for this “frequent testing” alternative be broadened to include any employee who – for whatever reason – is uncomfortable receiving the vaccine.
Access to No-Cost Tests: The SEIU 721 Bargaining Policy Committee is demanding that members who engage in “frequent testing” be provided with paid County time to get tested at accessible locations with all costs, including travel, covered by the County.
Reasonable Deadlines: Under the County’s proposed policy, all employees who have not been granted an exception must be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. “Fully vaccinated” means that means it has been at least two weeks since an individual has received the final shot. This is unreasonable. Even if an employee intends to comply with the mandate, there simply is not enough time to get a two-shot vaccine to meet this deadline. The union is demanding that the policy be modified to allow more time for compliance.
Corrective Action: Under the County’s proposed Corrective Action policy, non-compliant employees would first be issued a warning. Continued non-compliance would result in five-day suspension, then 30-day suspension, and, finally, discharge. The union is calling for a non-punitive approach to corrective action, as well as additional time for compliance before any discipline is considered.
In addition to the above, the SEIU 721 Bargaining Policy Committee is addressing a multitude of other issues and concerns related to the implementation of the various mandatory vaccination and testing policies and orders. We will do our best to keep all members informed and updated.