A union representing regular Los Angeles police officers has filed a lawsuit against the city for imposing its COVID-19 vaccination mandate on city officials, arguing that the city has negotiated policy terms in bad faith and is inappropriate. tries to pass on the associated costs to officials.
The Los Angeles Police Protection League, in its lawsuit filed Friday in the California High Court, reiterates a claim it made public earlier this week that the city withheld information about a contractor it hired to test unvaccinated employees at COVID-19.
City policy requires that unvaccinated employees be tested twice a week for COVID-19 and paid for these tests by deducting $ 65 from their pay per test, unless they are granted a medical or religious exemption from their term, after which they would be reimbursed.
The union claims the test plan “includes conflicts of interest issues.” Earlier this week, he expressed concern about the fact that the contractor is co-owned by Fire and Police Commissioner for Pensions Pedram Salimpur. The union claims that the city withheld this information during the collective bargaining with the union regarding the terms of the mandate.
The city has denied any irregularities. In a statement this week, the human resources department said it had checked seven test vendors and that Bluestone had been selected, “because it was the only company that could offer the range of services needed at a competitive price, including a vaccine card check, daily symptom monitoring , testing with a very sensitive and convenient procedure for employees using the PCR saliva test, tracking testing, submitting and tracking exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine, and advising on health service testing.
Salimpur said earlier this week that he had complied with “applicable ethical law” and that “the LAPPL’s allegations are fortunately wrong.” Salimpur did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The City Council announced that the City Council had decided to suspend restrictions on competitive bidding in accordance with adopted emergency protocols such as COVID-19.
The union also alleges that the city’s decision to pass on the cost of testing to employees, when testing is a condition of their work obligations, is a violation of labor law. The court is asking the city to prevent the requirements from being implemented before taking further steps in the work negotiations and to prevent police officers from charging any testing fees.
The city council approved a plan this week on what will happen to employees who have not complied with its vaccination rules, and passed a resolution noting that “there is an urgent need for such unilateral action to protect public health and safety. ” City officials described this as their “last, best, and final bid” on how the requirements would work.
The LAPPL lawsuit follows two others filed against the city by the groups police officers in firefighters, who claim that the vaccination mandate violates their rights and ignores the protection that some of them enjoy against antibodies obtained from previous COVID-19 infection.
This week, a judge rejected a request by plaintiff police officers for an interim restraining order that would block certain city requirements, such as a request from employees to use a specific form to seek religious exceptions.
Health experts say vaccines are safe and highly effective, especially in reducing the worst symptoms that lead people to critical care in hospitals. Experts also recommend vaccination for individuals who have previously contracted COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the introduction of such mandates has been controversial not only in LA but in cities across the country, and police agencies have been the source of some of the biggest returns. Among the employees most advocated by health advocates to be vaccinated are police officers, given their frequent interaction with the public and their key role in maintaining public safety.
The LAPD has affected more than 3,000 employees with COVID-19, and as of this week, more than 100 staff have been recovering at home, said LAPD chief Michel Moore.
Moore said about 74% of LAPD employees have had at least one dose of the vaccine since this week, an increase for the department, but it remains below 80% of LA County residents 12 years and older who have received at least one dose.
Hundreds of additional officers had COVID-19, Moore said. Recent data show that hundreds of officials have still not told the department whether they have been vaccinated.
Moore said the effort to vaccinate police officers was a “turbulent time” but that the department was “committed to a fully vaccinated workforce”.
Thousands of LAPD staff have filed intent to seek medical or religious exemption, prompting some skepticism from department critics and Police Commission Chairman William Briggs about the legitimacy of these claims.
Times writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.