As city deadline looms, LA firefighter union says no one should be fired for not getting vaccinated

Hundreds of first responders in Los Angeles are sounding off on a looming policy that city employees, including firefighters, must be fully vaccinated or risk losing their job.

United Firefighters of Los Angeles President Freddy Escobar is urging the city to rethink the Dec. 18 deadline.

"To simply have termination on the table is wrong, period," he said.

"No one should lose their job over a vaccine mandate, least of all the very people who helped this city get through some of the darkest times this pandemic. People like me," said firefighter paramedic Jennifer Landis.

Dreon Brown echoed that sentiment, saying he doesn't want to see a single firefighter lose their job over their decision to not get vaccinated.

Over 500 LAFD firefighters file court papers challenging city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate
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Court papers have been filed on behalf of hundreds of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters who want a judge to set aside the city's COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

The union says roughly 75% of firefighters are vaccinated and most of those who aren't have filed an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

The union has filed an unfair labor practice claim against the city which argues the city issued the vaccine mandate during good faith negotiations with the union to find a compromise to retain firefighters refusing to get vaccinated for any reason.

"We have a mandate in California right now from Gov. Newsom and that mandate is for all state employees to get vaccinated or test on a weekly basis. That's what we're asking for," Escobar said.

The mayor's office told Eyewitness News the vaccine mandate is critical to the safety of workers and constituents and the city is moving forward with it.

"City leaders have spoken - all city employees who choose not to comply with the mandatory vaccinations ordinance will be held accountable and face possible termination. The Fire Department is no exception. Like all departments, we will notify all employees and follow the city's procedures to work towards a fully vaccinated workforce," the LAFD said in a statement.

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