DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Unions representing Dayton police and fire departments are warning of a significant public safety crisis related to the city’s vaccine mandate.
The Dayton Fraternal Order of Police and Dayton International Association of Firefighters said they are not against the vaccine, but they said the terms of the City of Dayton’s mandate should be collectively bargained.
Kraig Robinson, president of Dayton IAFF said, “We were told this is the policy, and we should follow it. No negotiations were offered to us, and that’s not what the state law requires.”
In a statement Dayton City Manager, Shelley Dickstein said, “I am extremely disappointed with the comments made this morning by union leaders representing our safety forces.” She said, “while the testing start date has changed due to the test availability and to allow more employees the opportunity to get vaccinated, the new testing protocol was discussed months ago with all union leadership.”
Meanwhile, union leaders warn that more than 200 police officers and firefighters will be at risk of losing their jobs for failing to comply, which could have a major impact on emergency services.
“There will be longer response times for the calls for crimes, there probably will not be enough EMTs or paramedics to respond to medical emergencies, and not enough firefighters to respond to fires,” said Derric McDonald, VP of Dayton FOP Lodge #44.
Dickstein said the police and fire departments have put together staffing plans and will use all means to ensure public safety if large numbers of employees are not on the job as scheduled.
The city’s new covid-19 testing mandate will still go into effect on Monday, Nov. 1. It will require unvaccinated employees to be tested weekly. Additionally, the test will be provided and administered at the city’s expense. Employees who refuse to test will be sent home on unpaid leave until they provide a negative PCR covid-19 test obtained through their own resources.