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Vaccine mandate ‘bad policy’ for Cincinnati police, union leader says

Negotiations on the policy are currently underway as cases of the delta variant spike in Cincinnati.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 9:19 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The leader of Cincinnati’s police union doesn’t want the city’s forthcoming COVID-19 policy to include mandatory vaccinations.

Drafts of the new policy have been circulating for about a week.

City Manager Paula Boggs Muething said on Thursday the city is pursuing the policy due to significant concerns about the delta variant and “increasing case numbers that are a direct result of unvaccinated people spreading the virus.”

Dan Hils, FOP president, says the city has approached the major unions representing city employees desiring that employees get vaccinated.

He says the city wants to mandate that employees either provide proof of vaccination or weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

He contends a vaccine mandate would be a bad policy for a department that is “struggling to retain and attract enough police officers.”

The city and the unions are in active talks over the policy, according to Hils.

“I would like the city to negotiate options, and there are valid reasons that people give for not wishing to be vaccinated,” he said. “And if the city is able to understand that I think that would be a good thing for reasonable negotiations.”

Hils adds there’s talk of an optional mandate as well as weekly testing. not everyone will be entirely happy with the policy.

“It’s a matter of negotiating something that is acceptable to the membership in general,” he said. “We are not going to make everybody happy, That’s a part of negotiating.”

His written statement reads in full:

“The City of Cincinnati has approached the major labor unions, including the FOP, reference their desire to have employees receive COV-19 vaccines. The city wishes to initiate policy to mandate that employees either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of weekly COVID-19 testing.

“Cincinnati Police officers have been at work each and every day since the early days of the pandemic. The vast majority of Cincinnati officers have either natural immunity through having Covid-19 or have been vaccinated.

“Some cities, like Chicago, announced a mandatory vaccine requirement for police officers without hearing from their officers or complying with labor laws. Cincinnati leaders have followed the law and bargained with the FOP, as we are discussing the issues.

“Most people have strong opinions or reasons for and against taking this vaccine and police officers are no different. The city’s current approach of offering weekly testing of those who choose not to show proof of vaccination is a sign of good faith in bargaining.

“The FOP recognizes the city wishes in this matter and the city appears to recognize the FOP’s desire to preserve the personal freedoms our officers are entitled to. I hope the city continues down the path of bargaining. A strictly vaccine only mandate would be a bad policy for a department that is struggling to retain and attract enough police officers.”

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