Statement from IFPTE Local 21 President Gus Vallejo on Health & Safety for City and County of San Francisco Workers

Dear Union Siblings,

Despite significant progress this year, we are still in the middle of a terrible pandemic. As the Delta variant surges through our country, we cannot let our guard down. We don’t want any more workers or community members dying.

We are all in a vulnerable moment. As a union of public workers it is up to us to ensure that our workplaces are safe and healthy. That is why we have fought for properly funding public services, more staff, sick pay, telecommuting, PPE, and a budget that reflects CCSF’s commitments throughout this pandemic.

We continue to meet and confer with the CCSF Administration to urge them towards stronger health and safety standards in our workplaces, including better ventilation, access to masks for the public, air purifiers, continued telecommuting, and more. Click here to read our recent letter to the City Administration regarding our current health and safety demands.

Now I am asking you, if you haven’t already, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you come back into your workplace, and you’re not vaccinated, everybody is jeopardized.

Our members in high risk settings are already required to get vaccinated no later than September 15th. Ten weeks after the coronavirus vaccine is approved by the FDA, all CCSF employees and new hires will be required to get vaccinated, unless they have an approved exemption. Fortunately, 93% of Local 21 members at CCSF worksites have reported they are already fully or partially vaccinated.

These vaccinations have been proven to be safe. There are legitimate health and religious reasons for not getting vaccinated, but those individuals who fall into those categories should be regularly tested and must remain masked and practice social distancing while on the job. Everyone else: now is the time to get vaccinated.

We don’t just have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated, it’s in our own self-interest. Our failure to make sure everyone is vaccinated as quickly as possible will put all of us at heightened risk to new variants — new variants that could push our public health infrastructure and our economy into new crises.

In the labor movement we understand we are all interconnected. We understand that an injury to one is an injury to all. The coronavirus is no exception: no one is safe until everyone is safe.

In Solidarity,

Gus Vallejo

IFPTE Local 21 President