It is time for the City of Santa Monica to mandate all City employees receive vaccination against Covid-19. I am a 27-year City employee currently assigned to an indoor jobsite with other staff who have not been vaccinated. While cities such as Long Beach, Pasadena, and others have introduced mandatory vaccination or weekly testing for employees, Santa Monica has not. In large part, this is because the largest Employee’s Union, Municipal Employees Association (MEA) has thwarted the City’s plan to introduce a vaccination mandate.

Recently, MEA sent a message to its members claiming its mission is the health and safety of all employees but at the same time cited the City’s contemplation of a mandate as “overreach.”

The union cannot claim that the City’s attempt to create a safe workplace by requiring employees to become vaccinated against a deadly illness is “overreach” and at the same time, claim that the Union is concerned about employees’ health and safety.

What do we know about the vaccine?
• The vaccine is effective at stopping the spread of disease.
• The Center for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, Los Angeles County Health Department, virtually every expert in science and epidemiology recommend vaccination to stop the spread of disease.
• Doctors and scientists have deemed the vaccination safe.
• An unvaccinated person is more likely to bring infection into the workplace and infect others.
• Vaccination by all is necessary to end the pandemic.
Why is the union disregarding science and truth in favor of politics? This is not about freedom or individual rights. This is a public health crisis. Yet it seems the union is compromising in favor of those who get their information from Facebook and disregard science.

Unfortunately, MEA, led by President Rebecca Adams, seems to think this a moment to negotiate with the City and attempt to get something in return. This, in my opinion, is very cynical.

While I appreciate the effort of MEA to represent employees against detrimental management decisions and in contract negotiations, sometimes management acts in good faith. In this instance, management is trying to create a safe work environment, following the guidance of health officials and scientists, the president, vice president, Dr. Anthony Fauci and more. All of them advise receiving the vaccine.

Vaccination to protect everyone in the workforce should be the union’s mission. The union should not emphasize representing those who reject science and good advice.

Jeffrey Altman works for the City of Santa Monica and submitted this letter as his private opinion.