Vaccine Mandate Letter of Agreement

Today, the 20th of September 2021, the District Council of Trade Unions, alongside PROTEC17 and LiUNA Local 483, has signed a Letter Of Agreement (LOA) that provides important rights for AFSCME Local 189 workers impacted by the vaccine mandate.

This agreement is now in effect. As part of the agreement we were able to bargain following additional rights beyond what the City initially proposed:

(Note: this is a summary of rights and does not contain all conditions. Read the full LOA here.)

For workers declining vaccination

  • Workers will be separated from employment, not terminated for misconduct. The City cannot consider the separation a disciplinary matter.
  • The City will send out a pre-separation notice at least Seven (7) days in advance of separation. The notice will contain information about requesting a separation hearing, which a Union Representative can attend.
  • Separated workers who complete a COBRA form in a timely manner will continue to receive paid health insurance benefits through November 30th. Employees will need to self-pay as of December 1 to continue coverage.
  • Retain an opportunity to bargain an additional agreement, if the Oregon Employment Department allows unemployment payments for workers separated due to a vaccine mandate.
  • Pathways to return to City employment if the vaccine mandate is lifted or a worker later becomes vaccinated.

For workers requesting an exemption

  • The City must provide a religious or medical exemption process.
  • Discrimination and retaliation based on an employee seeking an exception is strictly prohibited.
  • Workers who are denied an exception request before October 18th will be separated from employment.  
  • Workers who have submitted an exception request by September 30th but, through no fault of the worker, have not received a final reply from the City by October 18th will be placed on paid leave of absence until a final reply is received.
  • Workers whose exception requests are denied after October 18th, and who express an intent to become vaccinated, will be provided up to 50 days unpaid leave to become fully vaccinated. Workers can use accrued leave (excluding sick leave) during this time to maintain pay.
  • Workers whose exception requests are approved shall work with the City to identify reasonable accommodations to allow for continued work.

For workers who have received at least one vaccine dose by October 18th and intend to become fully vaccinated

  • Workers can use accrued leave (excluding sick leave) or take an unpaid leave of absence through November 30th, 2021 and return to their previous position or other open position in their workplace in the same job class. Return requires that the worker is fully vaccinated, and that the position has not been permanently filled. This provision expires December 1st, 2021.

For workers who have received both shots but who are not 14 days past their final vaccine dose by October 18th

  • Reasonable accommodations similar to those provided for exceptions allowing continued work until 14 days past final vaccination dose.
  • Can use accrued leave (including sick leave) or take an unpaid leave of absence through the end of their 14 day period and can return to their previous position or other open position in their workplace in the same job class.

For workers experiencing a temporary medical condition that prohibits vaccination

  • The City will provide a reasonable temporary accommodation to allow workers to maintain employment.

Additional Rights

  • All workers receive an 80 hour COVID Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bank for COVID-related leave covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Click here and check out the “Qualifying Reasons for Leave” section for more information. Note: this does not include 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave. At a workers’ request, these hours can be made retroactive to July 1, 2020 for previous COVID-related leaves.
  • Workers will receive up to 2 hours of paid time to receive a vaccination during regular work hours, or 4 hours total if receiving two doses
  • The City will not contest workers comp claims due to vaccine side-effects. Workers comp claims must meet baseline requirements for a valid claim.
  • Vaccine records will be maintained in a secure area and protected against cyber theft. The number of individuals who can access the information will be limited.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to your union leadership.