Philly delays vaccine mandate for city workers (again) due to union disputes

Pharmacist Kenni Clark prepares a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's

Pharmacist Kenni Clark prepares a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's "The Center," which serves seniors, families and the community, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Lawrence, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has indefinitely postponed the vaccine mandate for the city’s unionized employees. The vaccine requirement won’t apply to those union workers — a group that includes thousands— for at least a few more weeks, officials announced on Friday.

Issued in November, the mandate applies to non-union employees, but also its labor union partners — AFSCME District Council 33, AFSCME District Council 47, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, and Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

However, all of those unions must agree to the mandate before it applies to their workers. For now, that means those employees remain exempt and cannot be placed on leave or fired for not being vaccinated.

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The deadline for the mandate was Jan.14, but the city is still negotiating with the FOP and is in the process of selecting an arbitrator so negotiations with Local 22 can begin, said a city spokesperson.

District Council 47 and District Council 33 have agreed to the mandate.

To date, 85% of all city employees have either complied with the mandate or have an approved exemption. That translates to more than 22,000 workers.

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