California SEIU President Challenges Gavin Newsom's Vaccine Mandate

California SEIU President Challenges Gavin Newsom's Vaccine
Mandate 1

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 President Richard Louis Brown, the new leader of the state’s largest public sector workers’ union, has challenged Gov. Gavin Newsom’s vaccine mandate, announced earlier this week.

As Breitbart News reported, Newsom was the first leader in any state to impose a vaccine mandate on all state employees and health care workers Monday, several days before President Joe Biden imposed a similar mandate on federal workers.

Louis Brown wrote a letter to Newsom expressing his opposition to forcing members of his union to show vaccination. In a “cease-and-desist” letter, Brown — who is vaccinated himself — accused Newsom of overriding the union’s collective bargaining agreement, including by failing to provide the union with advance notice of the new mandate. “The new policy constitutes a unilateral change in violation of the obligation to give notice and the opportunity to meet and confer,” he wrote.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Brown, facing opposition from some union members, has since said that he acted without consulting the governing board of the union, but he is sticking to his position that the union’s agreement is paramount:

Brown on several occasions told members that he views the union’s primary job as enforcing and defending its contract. He contends Newsom overstepped the contract when he announced the order directing state workers to show proof of vaccination or else accept regular testing for COVID-19.

Brown said the COVID-19 emergency is not more important than the union’s contract.

“When they come and tell me we’re in emergency, yeah my whole life has been an emergency, from the time I was born,” he said.

“You don’t like my tone. You know what? I thought Black lives mattered in this country. I guess not. I guess my Black life doesn’t matter,” he said.

Earlier in the pandemic, SEIU members marched to demand that essential workers in the public sector receive vaccines first.

State workers have until Monday, August 2, to verify that they are vaccinated. Some other union representing state workers are supporting the governror’s order. The SEIU has been a key part of Democrats’ voting machinery in recent decades. Gov. Newsom faces a recall election on Sep. 14, with voters’ support for removing him from office rising rapidly since May.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, How to Write: $50,000 of Lessons for $5. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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