RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Raleigh Professional Firefighters Association Local 548 said it “stands firmly” against the city’s vaccine and testing mandates and may take legal action.
The city announced last week that all workers will have to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 17 or submit to weekly testing. Employees who opt to get tested will continue working while they wait for their results. It’s unclear if testing will take place on or off-site.
In a letter posted online, the Local 548 President Andrew Davis wrote:
“We want to make it explicitly clear, we are not discounting the virus or disrespecting any person who has been personally affected by the situation. However, Local 548 will advocate tirelessly for the right for our members to choose whether the Covid-19 vaccine is right for them and their families. Local 548 has been in contact with labor attorneys actively seeking counsel on this requirement.”
The city had no comment on the letter. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said via text message that firefighters interact with the public frequently and that the new requirements are “in everyone’s best interests and protect all parties.”
The letter from Local 548, which represents about 250 firefighters, also requested that the city keep firefighters on the payroll if they contract COVID-19.
“We stand steadfast that the time spent away from work should be compensated by the city due to our work conditions and line of work,” the letter said.
Davis declined an interview but said he is working with city officials to find a solution and is optimistic that they will find common ground.
The city of Raleigh’s vaccine and testing requirement will remain in place until Wake County’s positivity rate dips below 5 percent.