DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton union leaders are upset by the City of Dayton’s new COVID-19 vaccination policy and said they would file a lawsuit if an agreement cannot be reached.
The city’s policy is not requiring employees to get the vaccine, but it will require unvaccinated employees to get tested once a week beginning September 20.
“COVID has continued to spread amongst the organization, and it will continue to have impacts on our ability to deliver services,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said.
All employees will be required to submit proof of their fully vaccinated status, or their COVID-19 test results to the HR department each week.
Dayton police and firefighter labor union leaders are upset over this new vaccination policy from the city.
“This has been nothing but a bulldozing, strong arming tactic by the city,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 President Jerome Dix said.
Union leaders said they were not involved in the city’s decision making process.
“We feel that this is a violation of certain things throughout the collective bargaining agreement, and we’re trying to come to an understanding that would be beneficial to both the employee and employer,” Dayton Firefighters Local 136 President Kraig Robinson said.
Dickstein said this policy is ultimately a balance between safety and serving the community.
“I have two primary responsibilities responsibilities, one is to make sure that we are delivering services effectively to the city of dayton taxpayers, the second is to make sure we’re providing safe work environments,” Dickstein said.
Part of the city’s policy makes unvaccianted employees responsible for finding a test site and paying for the test during their off hours.
Dix said he is concerned this is unfair to their members who choose not to get vaccinated, no matter the reason.
“In our opinion, if you want to make a safe workplace, as they say, a safe workplace, well then provide the testing facilities for us, pay for them,” Dix said. “Our people should not have to pay to have this done if they don’t wish to.”
Union leaders have requested a meeting with city officials and are in contact with their attorneys to file a lawsuit if need be.
“People have certain reasons why they can’t, why things happen for one person and not somebody else, and we just want to make sure through the process that that stuff happens without violating anybody’s rights or employment,” Robinson said.
If an employee chooses not to get vaccinated and refuses to follow the testing protocol, they will be removed from the workplace and could even face termination.
Employees who cannot get the vaccine due to religious or medical reasons must still get tested weekly, but the city will cover the expense.