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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Unions Push Back Against Possibility Of City Of Charlotte Vaccine Mandate

COVID-19 vaccine
Claire Donnelly
The city of Charlotte is offering employees a $250 bonus to get vaccinated.

Three unions that represent city of Charlotte workers are pushing back against the possibility of a vaccine mandate as the city looks for ways to boost its employee vaccination rate of 62%.

In a letter to city leaders, the unions that represent firefighters, police and public service workers said that they understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on Charlotte, but they believe “all medical decisions shall be an individual choice.”

Yolian Ortiz, a spokesperson for the Fraternal Order of Police in Charlotte, said the union is encouraging members to get vaccinated, but it’s against a mandate.

“There’s a lot of people out there that believe the vaccine is what’s going to bring the pandemic to the end and there’s other people who believe that that vaccine will harm their body,” Ortiz said. “We just want people to be comfortable in their decision, and I think a mandate is not necessary.”

Ortiz said a mandate would hurt employee morale.

UE Local 150, a public service workers union, also signed the letter. It represents city employees from several departments, including Charlotte Water, Solid Waste Services and the transit department.

Recently released survey results from the city show 62% of the city’s 8,000 employees have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That compares to the overall vaccination rate of 69% for Mecklenburg County and 66% for the state of North Carolina.

Nationally, 75% of adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

The fire department had the lowest vaccination rate, at 49% . CMPD was at 63% .

Some City Council members have been pushing City Manager Marcus Jones to require vaccinations. But so far, Jones is only encouraging employees to get vaccinated with a $250 bonus.

Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools also do not have vaccination requirements. Data released Wednesday said 70% of full-time county employees are vaccinated.

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