SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco leaders are receiving backlash to its latest vaccine mandate for city employees.
A group that represents Black city employees calls the mandate harsh and insensitive.
They’re known as the Black Employee Alliance and Coalition Against Anti-Blackness and they represent more than 400 Black employees in the city.
They say their members shouldn’t have to choose between a vaccine and their job, especially considering the historical medical treatment of African Americans.
“Being Black, an African American, in a culture that mistreats us all the time, healthcare is no exception as well as the history of racism this country has,” Dante King said. “It’s insensitive and negligent for city leadership to not understand how this would land on its Black and nonwhite employees.
King is one of the advocates of Black Employee in San Francisco responding to city leaders on Thursday, calling their vaccination mandate harsh and insensitive.
He’s the co-founder of Black Employee Alliance and Coalition Against Anti-Blackness — the group who sent an email to Mayor London Breed and city supervisors on Thursday.
This comes a day after the city announced that all of its 35,000 city employees must be vaccinated once the FDA fully approves a vaccine — which is expected in a few months.
While King is fully vaccinated, he says not all members are and many of them have been flooded his inbox with their concerns.
“Again you’re dealing with a group of people who are already disproportionately disadvantaged in this system and now you’re going to threaten termination and we deal with the legacy and ongoing perpetuation of anti-Black racism and racial bias,” he said.
King says advocates are now looking into legal action on grounds that African Americans could be disproportionately impacted and disciplined by this policy — compared to other city employees.
Leader of the Black and African American Affinity Group at SFMTA, Kathy Broussard, also shares King’s concerns.
In a statement on Thursday, she said: “People feel like they have to choose between their job and the vaccination. Most Blacks and African Americans are apprehensive based on a lot of information that’s been out there regarding the side effects, in addition to just being fearful. While I understand the safety of vaccinations, I also believe people should have the right to choose what vaccinations or medical treatment they wish to receive.”
King says he has not received a response from the city yet.
San Francisco is also the first city and county in the state to mandate COVID vaccinations for all government employees.
However the policy does allow for medical or religious exemptions.