Tucson police union challenges city’s vaccine requirement

The union representing Tucson police officers is challenging the city’s decision to require employees to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the lawsuit filed on August 16 by the Tucson Police Officers Association alleges the policy breaches its labor contract "by unilaterally enacting the ordinance without first bargaining in good faith over the change in working conditions" and asks a court to declare the mandate to be illegal.

In a 6-1 vote Friday, the council decided to make vaccinations mandatory for nearly 4,500 city employees, including about 760 in the police department.

The new ordinance will require all unvaccinated employees to provide proof of at least their first vaccine dose by Aug. 24 or face a five-day suspension. However, the mandate won’t go into effect if 750 unvaccinated employees submit proof of at least their first vaccination by Aug. 20.

In addition to the five-day suspension, unvaccinated employees could be subject to weekly testing requirements, more stringent mask-wearing guidelines, travel restrictions and eligibility restrictions for certain assignments.

City Manager Michael Ortega maintains Tucson has a duty to keep a safe workplace for employees and may compel them to get vaccinated or to get regular testing. The ordinance exempts certain employees with medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs from the mandate.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health Services reported 2,402 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 37 more deaths Wednesday.

This brings Arizona’s pandemic totals to 972,925 cases and 18,504 deaths.

Hospitalizations due to the virus continue to climb and were at 1,759 as of Tuesday. The last time it was that high was mid-February.

MORE: Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers


Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

More COVID-19 in Arizona news

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