As Democrats push both private and public employers to require vaccines for workers, the largest police union in the U.S. just delivered some bad news to the mandate-happy left.
While the Fraternal Order of Police officially supports vaccination and encourages its members to get the shots, it is pushing back against national police department mandates — creating some potential problems for local leaders seeking to impose such requirements on their officers.
This week, the union published a list of known COVID-19 deaths among police officers, who, as first responders who regularly interact with members of the public, have been at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
According to the FOP, a total of 531 police officers have died of the virus since the start of the pandemic. The union compiled its information from “media and news reports,” so not all the deaths have been verified.
For comparison, 295 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2020, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and there are over 800,000 sworn officers serving in the U.S.
Axios reported that “significant numbers” of officers across the country are declining the COVID-19 vaccine, even when required by their departments to get the shots.
In Denver, where 57 percent of officers aren’t vaccinated, the Department of Public Safety’s executive director said he’s prepared to fire those who continue to defy the city’s vaccine mandate for public employees.
In San Francisco, the first major city in the nation to require proof of vaccination at indoor venues, officials have been clashing with San Francisco sheriff’s deputies who are pushing back against a vaccine mandate for city employees. Over 20 percent of deputies are not vaccinated.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, has threatened “consequences” for members of the New York Police Department — with which he shares quite a bit of animus as it is — if they refuse to submit to his vaccine requirements.
Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo said during an interview that Miami police officers who don’t want to get vaccinated should look for work elsewhere.
This blunt disregard for personal health choices is exactly what the FOP refuses to accept from police department leaders.
“That’s management by tantrum. That’s not going to work. Have a conversation and encourage officers, but don’t act childish,” Jim Pasco, the union’s executive director, said of Acevedo’s comments.
“We are a union and we will defend our members,” he told Axios. “You cannot tell people what to do. It’s still an individual and personal choice.”
This week, three airlines — Delta, American and Southwest — broke from the corporate world in announcing that they would not require their employees to show proof of vaccination.
This degree of pushback against vaccine mandates from a huge public sector union and three major private companies is a surprising and refreshing shift, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
It has never been more important for those who still believe in personal liberty — even and especially those who approve of vaccination — to stand up for the fundamental rights that are so quickly slipping away.
And if unions won’t protect people from unjust labor practices, who will?
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