The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers sued the city Friday, alleging unfair labor negotiations related to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for municipal employees.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League alleges the city failed to negotiate in good faith by withholding information about the city’s testing contractor, Bluestone. According to the union, the city did not disclose information about the company’s contractual obligations, experience level, selection process and other material.
“Despite such repeated inquiries, the city failed to provide the LAPPL with this information, yet insisted that testing of unvaccinated employees could only be administered by a city vendor of its choice and with the employee to pay the costs of such tests by negative paycheck deduction,” the lawsuit stated.
The union’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also seeks to stop the city from requiring unvaccinated employees to pay for their COVID tests, at $65 per test, twice a week.
Los Angeles’ vaccination mandate was updated on Tuesday, pushing back the deadline for employees to get vaccinated from Oct. 20 to Dec. 18.
Mayor Eric Garcetti called the mandate “critical to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the Angelenos we serve.”
Through Dec. 18, unvaccinated employees have to submit to two COVID-19 tests per week, and $65 per test will be deducted from their paychecks. Employees have to get tested during their free time, and testing has to be conducted “by the city or a vendor … of the city’s choosing,” according to the CAO’s report approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
According to that report, employees who receive a vaccination exemption are required to test with Bluestone once a week, but those tests will be paid for by the city and be allowed during paid time.
Bluestone’s parent company, PPS Health, is partially owned by Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions commissioner Pedram Salimpour, which prompted the Los Angeles Police Protective League president to call for an investigation into corruption related to the $3 million contract with Bluestone. Salimpour also donated $1,000 to the mayoral campaign of City Attorney Mike Feuer, according to his campaign, which said it was an unsolicited donation.
The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Commission told KTLA that Salimpour was not involved in the review or vetting process for that contract.
The City Administrative Officer, which participated in labor negotiations with LAPPL, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.