Negotiations Break Down with County on Impact of COVID Vaccination Mandate; Impasse Filed

As previously reported, CAPE, in coordination with the Coalition of County Unions (CCU), has been involved in lengthy negotiations with the County over the Board of Supervisors’ COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Under California law, unions have the right to bargain over the “effects” of a mandatory vaccination program, though the employer has the management right to make the decision to have a mandate in the first place.

On Wednesday night, after another marathon session, talks broke down between the County and the CCU when County negotiators steadfastly refused to bargain in good faith over members’ legitimate concerns regarding privacy, the scope of the proposed medical condition exemption, and the consequences for an employee’s refusal to take the vaccine. The County insisted on publishing their Policy, Corrective Action Plan, and Exemption Forms to their employees, implying that they are implementing their proposals in these and other areas of negotiation.

The Coalition continues to seek an equitable, safety-conscious path forward that would not separate experienced, valuable members of our County family from their positions, which in turn creates staffing hardships on their respective departments, coworkers, and constituents.

The CCU bargaining team’s collaborative effort has developed some innovative incentive programs to help further educate employees in order to overcome vaccine hesitancy and cast the most inclusive net to make sure we can all come together safely in the workplace. It is our hope that, in the weeks ahead, we can all work together to come to an agreement so that we can return to the business of serving the public.