LOS ANGELES (KNX) — More than 100 members of the Los Angeles city firefighters’ union were sent home this week and remain off duty, without pay following mass refusal to comply with an order to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
A judge said Thursday that she was inclined to deny a request by the union for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the order. Just prior to Thanksgiving, more than 200 firefighters were given notices of non-compliance. They had 48 hours to comply with the vaccine mandate.
Of those 222 firefighters, only 84 received a jab. That left 113 non-compliant off the job as of Friday.
L.A. adopted an ordinance in August directing all city employees to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 unless they could demonstrate a need for medical or religious exemption. The firefighters’ union has a pending unfair labor practices charge before the L.A. City Employee Relations Board and wants a preliminary injunction issued against the mandate until that matter is resolved.
The union alleged the city bargained in bad faith around the mandate.
An attorney for the union said another 400 firefighters could be put on unpaid leave later this month if an injunction was not granted. Lawyers for the city said unvaccinated firefighters who have not filed for exemptions by Dec. 18 may be terminated altogether, or placed on unpaid leave.
In a tentative ruling taking the injunction request under submission, the judge assured that even if all 789 unvaccinated LAFD employees left their jobs, the department had contingency staffing plans in place to ensure public safety.