PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is expanding its vaccine mandate for workers. All city employees and certain city contractors will need to be fully vaccinated starting Jan. 14.
The mandate includes employees represented by a union, regardless of the location of work, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary city employees. It will also apply to any embedded city contractor regardless of their work location, according to the release. The city says those workers have to follow the policy — or be granted an exemption — to keep their jobs.READ MORE: Philadelphia Firefighters Rescue 2 People From Fairmount House Fire
“Philadelphia has worked hard to turn back COVID-19, and we have had success in doing so through our shared commitment to safety protocols, including vaccinations. However, that fight is not over, and the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remain our best weapon in this ongoing struggle,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a release. “As public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from inadvertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies. We owe it to our city—and to ourselves—to do all we can to keep us all safe.”
Before Friday, the city’s mandates just covered health care workers as well as exempt and non-represented employees.READ MORE: Hundreds Of Gloucester Township School Teachers Protest For New Contract: 'I Feel Taken Advantage Of'
Philadelphia is also incentivizing city employees to get vaccinated. All permanent city employees who have completed their full schedule of the COVID-19 vaccination and provide proof of their vaccination status by Dec. 24 will receive a $300 bonus.
City employees can’t opt out of getting vaccinated, but Philadelphia does provide religious or medical exemptions, according to the release. Employees granted an extension from the vaccination requirements will be required to follow additional safety protocols, including routine testing.MORE NEWS: South Philadelphia Rowhome Catches Fire
Following the announcement of the mandate, John McNesby, president of FOP Lodge #5, released a statement that said any mandate would need to be agreed upon:
“Any vaccine mandate is subject to bargaining and this is specifically covered under our recent contract. The FOP is going back before the contract arbitration panel, which has jurisdiction over any mandate. The FOP is conferring with counsel regarding potential litigation in local, state or federal courts.”