COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The City of Columbus wants to incentivize its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but not all employees may be eligible.
The city has plans to give $500 to employees who can show they’ve received either two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by Dec. 1.
However, if a city employee is represented by a union, the union must sign off on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city before its members can get the money.
“I do know that right now, the mayor does not want to mandate the vaccine,” said Nikki Brandon, the city’s Director of Human Resources. “We don’t want to see large numbers of our employees decide to leave because they don’t want to get the vaccine.”
According to Brandon, the only employee union to approve the MOU, clearing the way for its employees to receive the incentive, is the Ohio Labor Council, which represents 64 civilian employees working for the Columbus Division of Police.
The Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 1,800 officers at CPD. The union’s leadership told NBC4 Investigates it is still considering the MOU internally before making a decision.
“We’re hopeful that our other bargaining units will agree,” Brandon said. “(Mayor Andrew Ginther’s) incentive for the vaccine is to just give employees just another push to do the right thing, to help us get out of this pandemic safely.”
The only city department with a vaccine mandate is Columbus Public Health, whose employees must show their completed vaccination card by Nov. 1. Brandon said those employees would still qualify for the $500 incentive.