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Police union files unfair labor complaint over Pittsburgh’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

PITTSBURGH — The union representing officers in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police filed an unfair labor complaint over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Target 11 investigator Rick Earle obtained a copy of that complain in which the union requests the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board order the city to walk back the mandate.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced the vaccine requirement earlier this month. He said all City of Pittsburgh employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 22 or face some sort of discipline, possibly including termination. That drew an angry response from both the firefighter and police unions.

In the complaint filed Thursday, the police union claimed the city did not bargain with them before implementing the requirement. Union officials contend it’s a mandatory subject of collective bargaining and urge the state board to order the city to cease and desist from engaging in unlawful actions.

“It’s just the arrogance of the city, just like they do everything else. They think we’re all involuntary indentured servants and they can just do with us what they want,” said police union president Bob Swartzwelder.

Both the police and firefighter unions have filed grievances against the city claiming officials failed to notify and negotiate the vaccine mandate.

City officials said they won’t comment on pending legal action but said they implemented the requirement for the safety of their employees and the public.