Nearly 80% of Montgomery County employees have already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the county council is introducing legislation to force vaccinations on all workers in the county with no ability to submit instead weekly test results.
Nearly 80% of workers in Montgomery County, Maryland have already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but county council introduces legislation to force vaccination on all workers in county without possibility submit weekly test results instead.
In a Monday morning briefing, Council Deputy Chairman Gabe Albornoz noted that most workers in the county had, in fact, been vaccinated, but said: “I think we are now at a point. , given everything we know about this virus and where we need to go, that warrants make sense.
Council member Will Jawando said public safety workers, including firefighters and correctional officers, “often interact the most with our public and sometimes have to touch and be involved with bodily fluids and things.” , did he declare. “I think there is a really important reason to go forward.”
According to county data, 62% of firefighters and 62% of correctional officers reported having been vaccinated. It is not clear whether the remaining employees in these departments have been vaccinated or simply have not reported it.
According to the same data posted on the county’s COVID-19 data website, 32% of firefighters did not report their vaccination status, and 30% of correctional officers did not report whether they had been vaccinated.
The declaration of vaccination status of employees is required by the county.
The introduction of the legislation does not provide for an opt-out policy if workers agree to be tested, but includes medical exceptions. There is no religious exemption in the legislation as drafted.
County Council Chairman Tom Hucker said of the proposed exceptions: “You know, like most policies, it’s a little more complicated the more you think about it.”
He added: “I think it is very appropriate that we have these kinds of considerations to discuss.”
A statement from leaders of three unions that represent county employees, including career firefighters and police, said the legislation was “a scandalous intrusion into the role of the county executive as the official employer of employees “.
Statement by Jeff Buddle, President of IAFF Local 1664; Lee Holland, President of FOP Lodge 35; and Gino Renne, president of the 1994 UFCW local, called the legislation “union denigration”.
The statement said: “The bill bans all collective bargaining over the mandate and prohibits employee representatives from sitting at the table to discuss the impact on the workforce. “
He added: “This gives workers 40 days to get vaccinated or face layoff and completely eliminates due process for employees who are fired.”
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