The Los Angeles city firefighters’ union is suing over the conditions of a mandate requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and will seek a temporary restraining order against its enforcement on Friday.
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 brought the complaint Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The union wants a TRO issued against the vaccine mandate pending a hearing on a preliminary injunction and for the latter to remain in effect until its unfair practices charge before the Los Angeles City Employee Relations Board is resolved.
“The city violated its clear legal obligations under California’s public employment relations laws by failing and refusing to bargain in good faith with UFLAC over the effects of its decision to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” the union’s court papers in support of the TRO state.
The city adopted an ordinance in August directing city employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus unless they can demonstrate a medical or religious exemption. The City Council recently approved a plan that gave employees more time to get vaccinated.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached.
The union’s ERB complaint alleges that the city has bargained in bad faith concerning the mandate. Specifically, the union objects to a requirement that unvaccinated employees must submit to twice weekly COVID-19 testing and be tested by the city’s chosen vendor, then reimburse the city at $65 per test.
The city’s last, best and final proposal also provides that employees who do not pay for the testing will be fired, the suit states.
“By emailing the proposal and claiming it is the last, best and final, the city deprived the union of its right to bargain by denying it the right to review and respond to the proposal,” according to the suit, which further alleges the city prematurely declared the parties were at an impasse.