Last spring, we shared the news that without notifying CFA or agreeing to bargain over the decision, CSU management unilaterally eliminated immunization requirements for students for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis), Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B. These mandatory immunization requirements have been in place for years. (The CSU has left in place a vaccine requirement for Hepatitis B.)
When CFA requested to meet and confer, CSU’s labor relations administrators declined, stating that they did not believe that the matter was a required topic for negotiation or that there was any impact to CSU faculty. CFA filed an unfair practice charge with the California Public Employment Board (PERB) which resulted in a complaint from the board that led to a hearing before a PERB administrative law judge in August.
“CSU faculty are a diverse group. Many of us live in multigenerational households with young, elderly, disabled, and immunocompromised people, including ourselves. Carrying the grave lessons of the COVID pandemic in our hearts and minds, CFA members will continue to fight for our health and safety — and that of students! — in the classrooms, health centers, libraries, courts, and fields of our universities,” said Molly Talcott, CFA Faculty Rights chair and CSU Los Angeles professor. “In the musical words of Sweet Honey in the Rock, ‘We bring more than a paycheck to our loved ones and families.’ What we don’t want to bring home is an easily preventable measles outbreak!”
While the CSU’s labor relations representatives opine that the change is not likely to impact faculty and that the union has no say in the matter, CFA members beg to differ. For years, faculty have relied on these vaccine mandates for their health and safety, and there is no evidence that the mandates are no longer needed. CSU management is cavalierly disregarding public health and faculty concerns and input. The move also goes against California Department of Public Health and American College Health Association guidelines. High immunization levels are critical to preventing outbreaks, and changing the immunization levels on campuses poses serious health risks for students, faculty, staff, and their families.
We look forward to getting a decision on our case in the coming months. In the meantime, please be safe on your campuses and get in touch with campus leaders if you are aware of unsafe and unhealthy events in your workplace.