PHOENIX - The City of Phoenix will require all of its workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, FOX 10 has learned.
FOX 10 has obtained a letter sent to city workers from the city's Director of Communications, Dan Wilson. In the letter, which was dated Nov. 18, city officials say all city workers, regardless of telework status or previous positive tests for COVID-19, must be fully vaccinated against the virus by Jan. 18. 2022, with limited exceptions where a worker is legally entitled to an accommodation. City officials, however, noted that an accommodation is not guaranteed.
"In order to be considered compliant, employees will be required to submit a completed vaccination card with two completed doses for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one completed dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Booster doses are not required at this time," read a portion of the letter. "Employees not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement by January 18, 2022 will be contacted and subject to progressive discipline up to and including termination."
According to Wilson, the City of Phoenix is considered to be a federal contractor, like many other cities throughout the country, since they work closely with the Federal government.
"Executive Order 14042 requires the employees of all federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022," Wilson wrote.
Phoenix city officials say they were only recently informed that the city is considered a federal contractor.
"The City of Phoenix has multiple federal contracts, the one that alerted our attention was one that had bomb-sniffing dogs at the airport," said Assistant City Manager Lori Bays. "Even though it is a contract specific to our airport and police employees, it impacts all employees under the contracted employer, which is the city itself."
According to the City of Phoenix website, the city has more than 14,000 employees. City officials say currently, about 25% of the Phoenix Police and Department 25% of the Phoenix Fire Department are currently vaccinated, and a majority of officers and firefighters do not want to get vaccinated.
First responders react to new mandate
The Phoenix Police and Fire Department union leaders say they were blindsided by the vaccine mandate. They say hundreds of police officers and firefighters have indicated they would consider quitting instead of getting the vaccine.
"We know that it’s a substantial number of people have said they will be fired instead of receiving the vaccine," said PJ Dean with United Phoenix Firefighters Association Local 493.
Fire union officials say public safety and lives could be at stake if firehouses face even more staffing shortages, and police union officials say a recent survey of members indicated most were against a vaccine mandate.
"About 1,000 people took it. About 80% said they would consider leaving. As you know, we already have an issue with personnel. We can’t hire anybody and we’re not retaining anybody either. So this mandate could not come at a worst time," said Britt London with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
PLEA has also issued a statement on the mandate, which reads:
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