The head of the Baltimore police union told its members Friday not to reveal their vaccination status when a citywide mandate takes effect on Monday.
''It is understandable that our members have questions about a policy with so little information being provided by the city,'' Sgt. Mike Mancuso, president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 3, said in the letter to members, The Hill reported Friday.
''Until the city responds to our right to bargain these issues, or the courts intervene, I suggest you do nothing in regard to revealing your vaccination status as it is outlined in the city's policy,'' the letter continued.
Maryland's largest city announced its vaccine policy on Aug. 31 requiring all city employees, including its nearly 3,000 sworn police officers, to be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test weekly to report to work.
''Protecting the health of our workforce, residents, and their loved ones is my top priority. As we continue to navigate this pandemic — all while working to restore critical in-person access and assistance for Baltimoreans — the steps we take today to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant could not be more important,'' Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in the press release announcing the policy.
''I thank our city employees for continuing to provide high quality service during these unprecedented times and look forward to working hand-in-hand with our Health Department to work towards vaccinating everyone who is not currently vaccinated,'' the release continued.
All 14,000 employees are required to report their vaccination status to the city, starting Monday.
Noncompliance could result in disciplinary action or termination.
''FOP3 believes that there are multiple collective bargaining issues that surround the city's vaccination policy,'' Mancuso said, according to The Hill. ''We have made multiple attempts to sit down and discuss these issues to no avail.''
The union is expected to meet with the city on Wednesday to discuss the issue but has filed an unfair labor complaint in the meantime to block the start of the mandate.
Although it is encouraging members not to disclose their status to the city, Mancuso said the union supports whatever decision an individual member makes regarding the policy.
''Labor Commissioner Deborah Moore-Carter led a productive meeting this afternoon with the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police and their attorney, Commissioner Michael Harrison, and representatives from the City's Law Department and Human Resources to discuss concerns over the vaccination mandate,'' Scott's spokesperson Calvin Harris said in a statement to The Hill.
''We will remain in close contact with the FOP until a solution is reached, and we are hopeful it will.''
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