SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The city of San Diego is warning hundreds of unvaccinated workers that they will lose their jobs if they do not comply with the vaccine mandate. Notices were sent out today.
As Omicron cases climb rapidly, so are the number of city workers calling out sick. Today, 130 firefighters are in quarantine, and 195 police officers are ill or awaiting test results.
"This is precisely why the mandate is necessary," San Diego Mayor, Todd Gloria, said.
In December, Gloria's office sent 900 city employees a "30-day Options letter," which stated they by January 3, 2022, they had to choose to get vaccinated, request a reasonable accommodation, request special leave without pay, retire, or resign. Tuesday, those who did not reply got the "Advanced notice of termination" letters.
According to the San Diego Firefighters Union [IAFF Local 145], five members got these letters Tuesday, but all five are in the process of being fully vaccinated. So it is highly unlikely that they will lose their jobs.
The San Diego Police Officers Association [POA] did not have the final number of letters sent, but as of December 29, 2022, 373 officers did not submit a response to the Options letter. Police Union President Jack Schaeffer said losing seasoned officers to the vaccine mandate would be devastating.
"I hope that they're open-minded enough, and they realize that losing hundreds of officers will be catastrophic for our department," Schaeffer said.
Mayor Gloria said under the Civil Service Commission, each person who received the letter would go through a one-month due process period where they will be interviewed. So they will not be terminated immediately. Their future employment status will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
"We don't want anyone to leave," Gloria said. "I love our city employees. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get them vaccinated because we care about them so deeply. We don't want them to get sick and spread the virus to other employees and the public, who they are entrusted to serve."
Mayor Gloria hopes that as these hard deadlines approach, more people choose to get vaccinated.