TUCSON, Ariz — The next move is up to Tucson employee groups after a judge denied a temporary court order to stop the city from mandating COVID vaccine for police, firefighters and civilian workers.
There’s not much time for employees to meet the city’s demands. They have until Tuesday to prove they’ve had at least one shot or they face a five day unpaid suspension with penalties that could escalate from there.
The groups asked Superior Court Judge Richard Gordon for a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO to freeze the order to allow time for a more detailed hearing later.
The attorney for the workers groups claimed by mandating vaccinations the city failed to:
“Bargain in good faith on all matters relating to wages, fringe benefits, working conditions, and hours of work.” and to abide by Governor Ducey’s Order and Arizona law
The City of Tucson responded that the labor agreements don’t apply in this case, the Governor’s order applies to private individuals, not city workers and the State law on vaccination mandates doesn’t take effect for more than a month.
Judge Gordon ruled the employee groups did not meet the legal standard for him to grant the order.
He said, "I'm denying the TRO under the legal authority that I'm bound to follow in this case. This is not a comment on the personal nature of the choice, or the decision to be vaccinated or not vaccinated. That is a personal choice. I'm not commenting on that at all."
In a Facebook Post the Tucson Fire Fighters Association says, “We are extremely disappointed that the court ruled in favor of the City of Tucson’s Administrative Directive. This decision threatens and coerces many police officers and firefighters to face a 5-day unpaid suspension, with no clear indication of discipline to follow, potentially resulting in their termination.
The Fire Fighters Association said it hopes the city will reconsider and offer alternatives.