Phoenix police, firefighters push back against COVID vaccination mandate
City of Phoenix employees have only weeks remaining to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to comply with a federal mandate, and public safety unions are joining a lawsuit to fight it.
City officials sent workers a letter Nov. 18, saying the city falls under President Joe Biden’s rule that any contracting company with more than 100 employees must be fully vaccinated.
“Due to the number of federal contracts held by the city of Phoenix, we are considered a federal contractor,” the letter read. “As such, all city employees are subject to the provisions outlined in the Executive Order, which requires all employees, regardless of telework status or if you previously tested positive for COVID-19, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation.”
The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) and the United Phoenix Firefighters Association Local 493 (UPFA) joined a federal employee in Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit against Biden’s vaccination mandate in response. In doing so, Brnovich expanded the lawsuit to include federal contract workers.
“I have been saying that this unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate will cost honest and hardworking people their livelihoods, and that’s unacceptable,” Brnovich said Monday. “It would also be a terrible injustice to our first responders who have always been there for us. If allowed to stand, this mandate will ultimately jeopardize all Arizonans who depend on these brave men and women to keep our communities safe.”
More than two dozen states along with other private entities have sued Biden over the mandate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration temporarily halted the private sector vaccination mandate for companies with more than 100 employees Nov. 17 after the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled against the administration.