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Philadelphia Firefighters' And Paramedics' Union Sues City Over COVID Vaccine Mandate

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics are suing over the city's COVID vaccine mandate, claiming the city implemented the requirement 48 hours before the deadline and calling it "one-sided." The Philadelphia Firefighters' and Paramedics' Union, Local 22, filed the complaint Thursday.

The complaint alleges the city sent a union-wide email on Feb. 9, "unilaterally implementing a vaccine mandate" to Local 22 members. The email reportedly said members had to prove they got their first dose or submit an exemption request by Feb. 11.

The repercussions? Any member who didn't get a first dose or exemption by Feb. 28 at noon would be put on leave March 1.

According to a statement from union president Mike Bresnan, the city didn't give its members enough time to comply with the mandate.

The statement said:

"On Thursday, Local 22 filed a charge as a result of the City's one-sided implementation of the vaccine mandate. The mandate gave firefighters and paramedics 48-hours to become vaccinated or apply for an exemption. Failure to comply by February 28th will result in suspension for any firefighters, paramedics and EMTs that remain unvaccinated and do not have an exemption. The City did this without affording Local 22 the ability to arbitrate the issue, which are clear requirements of the Union's agreement with the City, an agreement the City has breached. Our filing asks the courts to stop the City from taking an action which would ultimately threaten public safety in Philadelphia and allow Local 22 the right to negotiate with the city."

In part of their filing, the union claimed the city "has irresponsibly placed political agendas and optics before public safety and logic by attempting to unilaterally implement an outdated COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which, if implemented, would result in the suspension of approximately one third of the already short-staffed and overstressed Department."

They are looking to stop the city from taking action, filing an injunction along with their complaint.


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