NJ town wins fight to require cops, employees get vaccinated
WAYNE — A vaccination requirement for Wayne public employees will move forward provided issues raised by the police union are discussed and settled first.
The township mandated that employees must show proof of vaccination by September 17 or they will be considered to not be in compliance and will not be able to work in any building, facility or in public. Continued non-compliance could lead to termination of employment.
Mayor Christopher Vergano told NorthJersey.com that police enter the homes of residents daily and the vaccine is needed to protect officers and the public.
Wayne PBA 136 challenged the mandate in court which was initially upheld by a Passaic County Superior judge, according to Wayne Patch. The New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission at first upheld the union's unfair labor charge but then allowed an appeal by the town, provided the union's concerns are addressed.
Township Attorney Matthew Giacobbe told NorthJersey.com that non-compliance with the vaccination mandate will not affect terms and conditions of employment for union members.
Employees will be able to get the shot during a weekly township COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be paid for time off if they become ill from the vaccine and will be paid if they become sick from the vaccination.
Gov. Phil Murphy has mandated teachers, state workers, public health workers to take the COVID-19 vaccine. But the requirement for first responders has been left to individual communities with Hoboken and Newark implementing mandates.
The Newark Firefighters Union along with other police and fire unions plans a protest of the mandate at City Hall on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mayor Ras Baraka explained his reasons for the mandate in an op/ed column in Sunday’s NJ.com.
“Our public servants should be more invested in community safety first because it is their job, and second, the public trust they hold demands they be held to high a standard,” Baraka wrote.