PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Pittsburgh Police officers and firefighters will not be enforced on schedule.
The mandate was set to take effect this Wednesday, but the unions filed a grievance that still has not been settled.READ MORE: With 67 Steelers' Sacks, Bordas & Bordas Donates $33,500 To Ronald McDonald House
The mayor’s office said it will not take any disciplinary action this week while that grievance is active.
The Pittsburgh Police Union filed a grievance early in November, following a similar action by the firefighter union.
Earlier this month, an arbitrator sided with the firefighters union, meaning that negotiations will have to take place to decide the fate of the mandate.
The firefighter’s union president says they will meet with the city tomorrow.
“They are progressing very well,” said Ralph Sicuro/Pittsburgh Firefighters Local No. 1. “That’s as far as I would want to go. I don’t want to negotiate in the media. The city has come to the table with the willingness to negotiate.”
Pittsburgh’s vaccine mandate deadline is Wednesday.
But it won’t affect police officers and firefighters, according to city officials.
This after separate arbitrators ruled that the city must now negotiate with the unions.
“How and when the deadline will be set for our members who have to be vaccinated. And things like what happens if they don’t,” Sicuro said. “Hopefully, there will be incentives to help get the people who want to become vaccinated.”READ MORE: Lawrenceville Community Groups Hosts Virtual Meeting On Proposed Amazon Facility
Medical and religious accommodations and the process to fight it if someone is denied will also be discussed.
“These are details that were not provided in the original mandate that was thrown at the employees of the city of Pittsburgh.”
Sicuro said of the nearly 700 Pittsburgh firefighters, around 80-85% are fully vaccinated.
“We still need at least over 100 firefighters who need to get vaccinated.”
We tried to talk on camera to Mayor Bill Peduto and his Chief of Staff Dan Gilman, but neither was available.
The mayor’s executive assistant, James Hill, gave KDKA this statement:
“The city will not take any disciplinary action this week while there is an active grievance. we are meeting and working cooperatively with the unions.”
The mood of firefighters?
“I think a lot of them are very frustrated. I think a lot of them are glad to see this administration come to a conclusion and looking for a fresh start with the new administration.”
“Threatening people with termination before Christmas is not quite the holiday spirit I was hoping for.”MORE NEWS: 3 Injured After Shooting In Parking Lot Of Clearview Mall
The Fraternal Order of Police has not responded to requests for comment.