City of Portland employees have until Oct. 18 to either get fully vaccinated or obtain a religious or medical exemption for opting out of the jab if they don’t want to be ousted from their jobs.
That’s according to a letter emailed to all city employees Monday afternoon, which was shared with WW. The Oregonian first reported the letter after obtaining a draft copy earlier today.
The letter, signed by Mayor Ted Wheeler and all four city commissioners, says employees have until Sept. 10 to prove that they’re vaccinated, on their way to getting vaccinated, or have applied for a medical or religious exemption.
“Employees who do not meet the Sept. 10 deadline will be put on a list for separation from employment, and have until Oct. 18 to either demonstrate they are fully vaccinated or complete the exception process,” the letter says. “Separations will be effective Oct. 19. Please show respect for your co-workers during this difficult time, including those who feel differently than you do about vaccines or who apply for exceptions.”
The Portland City Council noted that questions would arise about how religious and medical exemptions are evaluated, and asked for patience while the policies are fleshed out over the next few days.
“[We] recognize that this announcement raises many questions—from how to file your proof of vaccination, to how we will evaluate exception requests, to how this requirement affects contractors and volunteers.”
Those specifics, the mayor and commissioners wrote, will be expanded upon on Thursday.
Portland is one of just a few handful of cities that have now mandated vaccines for employees.
Backlash from city employees Monday was limited but intense.
Responses to the email from various city employees this afternoon that were shared with WW show a handful of employees who strongly oppose the mandate—one who went so far as to compose a battle cry.
One woman who works as a capital assets accountant in the Office of Management and Finance wrote an impassioned call to colleagues, asking them to join her in a court fight against the city.
“Dear employees who are not ready to inject the deadly vaccine,” she wrote. “Please do not be afraid.
“Please contact me to organize a powerful force against these evil wishes of our leaders and keep our lives to ourselves and children who rely on our health,” she wrote. “We will hire a team of lawyer to protect our right, so these leaders who force our death, will start looking for new jobs themselves.”
She added, “Please, do not be afraid, God Almighty is with us, and it does not matter who is our enemy. What important is – Who stands behind us. God Bless!”
Two employees on the thread asked that the woman add her to her proposed email chain.