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Unions Ask Gov. Ige to Intervene in C&C of Honolulu's Vaccine Mandate

August 16, 2021

Today all six public-sector unions asked Governor Ige to intervene in the City & County of Honolulu’s vaccine mandate to ensure that there is equal and fair treatment of employees. The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation (EP) provides that beginning August 16, 2021, all State and county employees must attest to whether they are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or not vaccinated for COVID-19. The Governor’s EP also provides that as an “alternative,” State and county employees shall be subject to regular COVID-19 testing once or twice a week at the discretion of the State or county department, office or agency.

The City & County of Honolulu is the only Hawaii government employer that is not providing all unvaccinated employees the “alternative” of regular COVID-19 testing. Instead, Mayor Blangiardi is opting to take punitive action against all unvaccinated employees who do not qualify for a medical or religious exemption. *Beginning August 23, 2021, these unvaccinated City employees will be subject to forced leave without pay, disciplinary action, and job loss through termination, while public employees in other jurisdictions in the state (including the State of Hawaii, Department of Education, University of Hawaii, the Judiciary, County of Kauai, County of Maui and County of Hawaii) have the option of testing to ensure they are able to safely stay on the job while continuing to earn a living and provide essential public services for their communities.

*Note: Blangiardi extended the initial deadline for all City & County of Honolulu employees to be fully or partially vaccinated, or to submit a medical or religious exemption from Aug. 16 to Aug. 23. Click here to view Mayor’s Directive No. 21-7 (Amendment 1 August 16, 2021).

READ: Letter to Gov. Ige from Public-Sector Union Leaders

We sent a letter to Mayor Blangiardi last week about his vaccine mandate, which is stricter than what Governor Ige laid out in his emergency proclamation. Mayor Blangiardi’s response to public employees’ concerns was essentially that he’s not interested in collaboration.

READ: Letter to Mayor Blangiardi from HGEA, SHOPO, UPW and HFFA

READ: Response from Mayor Blangiardi Regarding Vaccine Mandate

We are continuing to learn about the details of the vaccine mandate, which is being implemented differently across the different employers. We believe in fairness and clarity for public employees.

We continue to encourage COVID vaccinations as well as fight for the rights of all our employees.

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