Philadelphia firefighters union sues city over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The firefighters union says up to 30% of its members could be suspended under the mandate.



This story originally appeared on 6abc.

The union representing Philadelphia firefighters sued the city on Monday over the newly implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Local 22 IAFF represents the city’s 2,600 firefighters and paramedics.

The union says the mandate would lead to the suspension of 30% of its members, exacerbating a staffing shortage and therefore risk public safety.

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Action News has reached out to city officials for comment.

Numbers show that as of February 1 the fire department had the lowest vaccination rate among city departments, with an estimated 61% to 70% of firefighters and paramedics vaccinated.

Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate went into effect Friday, Feb. 11, requiring city workers to provide proof of having at least the first dose of the vaccine or submit a valid exemption.

On March 1, unvaccinated employees and those without exemptions will be placed on leave and possibly fired when that time runs out.

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The mandate was delayed several times since it was announced in November as the city negotiated with several unions.

Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration previously reached an agreement for a vaccine timeline with unions representing the more than 6,800 employees within the police department.

The administration stressed that the mandate could help ensure there is sufficient staffing to serve the city.

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