Dayton union wants city to bargain COVID vaccines or testing policy

A sanitation worker cleans the front desk area at Dayton City Hall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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A sanitation worker cleans the front desk area at Dayton City Hall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton’s largest union says it strongly encourages its members to get the COVID-19 vaccine but the city should “bargain in good faith” over its new policy that requires employees to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

Dayton officials recently announced that city employees who are not fully vaccinated by Sept. 20 will have to get weekly coronavirus tests on their own dime and their own time, unless they had valid medical or religious reasons for shunning the vaccines.

A sanitation worker cleans the front desk area of City Hall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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A sanitation worker cleans the front desk area of City Hall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

ExploreDayton to require city employees to get vaccine or weekly testing

Weekly COVID-19 testing could cost $300 or more every month, and Dayton public service workers cannot afford this requirement, said R. Sean Grayson, president of AFSCME Council 8.

Dayton Public Service Union, AFSCME Local 101, represents more than 700 city employees.

AFSCME believes that its members and members of the public who are eligible for the vaccine should get it, because it is the best way to keep people safe, Grayson said.

ExploreFOP: Unions will sue Dayton over requirement to get vaccine or be tested

But the city’s policy will have an impact on workers and their families, and AFSCME Local 101 has submitted a request to bargain and plans to offer alternatives to this policy, Grayson said.

“Additionally, our members must be given time to take both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and for the vaccine to take effect before any other mandatory alternative measures are put in place,” he said in a news release.

The lobby of Dayton City Hall. It has been modified to reduce the risk of COVID-19. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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The lobby of Dayton City Hall. It has been modified to reduce the risk of COVID-19. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton’s employees have worked hard to keep the city safe and provide vital services when community members needed them most, said Ann Sulfridge, president of AFSCME Local 101.

“The city owes it to its workers to listen to our members’ concerns and find alternative solutions that will keep everyone safe without being coercive and without putting our members and their families’ finances at risk,” she said.

The president of Dayton’s police union earlier this month said the public safety forces unions intended to challenge the city’s new policy, likely by filing an injunction.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein previously said the city’s new policy does not need to go through the bargaining process because it deals with keeping the workplace safe during an emergency.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein on Tuesday explained her new executive order for city employees regarding COVID-19 vaccines or testing.
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Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein on Tuesday explained her new executive order for city employees regarding COVID-19 vaccines or testing.

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