Police Union Won’t Support Mandatory Vaccinations

Stephen Downing

Rick Chambers, president of the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association (LBPOA) informed his membership by email Friday that the LBPOA board of directors took a unanimous position on the city mandate saying: “We do not support mandatory vaccinations.”

The email was sent to the membership following a noon meeting at the POA Park in East Long Beach, just hours following a Sept. 29 issuance of a letter to city employees from City Manager Tom Modica announcing a vaccination mandate for all new and current city employees.

Chambers, who was accompanied by POA attorney Rocky Lucia from the law firm of Rains, Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, updated the membership on the POA’s stance toward Modica’s mandate, which the Beachcomber reported here on Sept. 30: https://beachcomber.news/content/city-mandates-vaccinations-all-employees.

The Oct. 1 email, acquired by the Beachcomber, summarized the POA membership meeting and provided answers to a Q&A based upon the Sept. 30 meeting.

According to the email, the attorney informed the membership that “under the current state of the law an employer does have the legal right to mandate employees be vaccinated against COVID-19” and pointed to the fact that “there have been several recent legal challenges, none of which have succeeded.”

The POA members were told that the lawsuit filed by the LAPD was filed by a small number of individual officers, “and was not filed by their police union.”

Chambers pointed out that the POA is in regular communications with the LAPD union, as well as the unions representing Sheriff’s Department deputies and has determined that none have filed lawsuits.

The LBPOA president wrote “Beyond creating bad case law, each poorly considered legal battle that has been fought and lost has only strengthened the position of employers considering mandated vaccination for their employees.”

Although asserting that “accepting the vaccine is a personal decision that our members should make for themselves after consultation with their doctor or clergy, we have already sent the city a demand to meet and confer” saying “that process must be completed before this proposed mandate can be put into effect.”

Chambers said that “Discipline will be one of the primary subjects of negotiation during the meet and confer process,” while recognizing that the city has yet to present details on that subject.

The president added, “You may have seen announcements from other police unions saying their LDF plan will not cover disciplinary appeals for violations of a vaccine mandate, but, “that is not the position of the LBPOA. We will represent our members in these cases, as we would with any other disciplinary matter.”

The membership was interested in how the city would examine or evaluate a request for an exemption and was informed “This will be an important subject of the negotiation during the meet and confer.”

The email to the membership advised that officers should not turn in a request for an exemption at this time, but should “wait for more information before submitting.”

The membership was assured that a worker’s compensation claim for an adverse reaction to the vaccine would “absolutely” be covered.  Chambers added, “Thankfully, so far, none of our vaccinated members have needed to file a workers comp claim.”

The membership was curious as to why the city did not look at alternatives for “cheaper testing” rather than eliminating the testing alternative. The POA president responded “Ideas like this idea for cost-savings measures will be among many other ideas we bring to the table for discussion.”

Chambers said that “next steps” is that “we expect the city to respond to us with proposed language and dates to schedule our first meetings. We will keep the membership updated as this progresses.”

This is a developing story.  The Beachcomber will provide updates as the process matures.

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.



— Are they health officials with experience in immunology?
— Are they residents of Long Beach?
— Do they pay the police officers' salaries?
— Do they suffer the consequences if officers community members they come in contact with?

If the answer is NO to any one of the above then they have no business opening giving an opinion on this issue.

Why would we expect an organization like the LBPOA that has continuously worked with the LBPD, city attorney office and the Mayor to help conceal officer misconduct to now do or support the right thing for the citizens of LB. The way to get them to support anything is to give them more money. Don't expect anything good to come from a corrupt organizations, hasn't LBC figured this out yet? SMH

LBPOA has a contract renegotiated with the City of Long Beach every so many years. What matters most to LBPOA is whether vaccinations are covered by their current contract with the city. If LBPOA believes mandatory vaccination violates certain terms of that contract, it will want compensation somewhere else before it will agree to accept mandatory vaccination. If not covered in their contract, LBPOA will not have a legal remedy to avoid vaccination of its membership.

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