San Jose city employees push back on vaccine mandate

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The deadline looms for all city employees to be vaccinated or face consequences that could include termination in the city of San Jose.

Some employees, including police and firefighters, are pushing back on the policy amid worries it could jeopardize public safety.

Approximately 87% of San Jose city police officers and related staff have shown proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19. The rest have refused the vaccine for religious, medical or unspecified reasons. 

Under a city policy effective Sept. 30, unvaccinated cops, firefighters and other city workers could face consequences up to and including termination. 

The police union says as many as 140 officers could resign or retire putting public safety at risk, says the POA’s Sean Pritchard.

Roughly 8% percent of city firefighters are unvaccinated amid worries similar to those given by police. Citing the need to respect the safety of all city workers, 90% of whom are fully vaccinated, the city is moving ahead with the policy while exploring all options, says Mayor Sam Liccardo.

The city’s 2,500 member municipal employees federation has opted to go along with the policy. 

But police and firefighters want options like a continuation of the current policy that allows for regular testing in place of vaccinations.

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