The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association says officers will be “retiring early and seeking employment elsewhere” over Breed’s vaccine mandate, and the public response to the statement has invoked doors, hitting, and their asses on the way out.
Police unions are perceived differently than other American public sector employee unions, as the right-wing media outrage factory cuts them vastly more slack than teachers, service employees, and pipefitters. That may be because law enforcement unions are generally Trumpier and use their bully pulpit for genuine bullying, as seen with the antics of the SF Police Officers Association (POA).
That SF police union is separate from the Sheriff's Department union, as those two law enforcement offices have different legal jurisdiction. But the Deputy Sheriffs’ union is quickly catching up to the SF POA in terms of the hostile batshittery of their social media presence. At least, they did on Thursday in a circumlocutory Facebook post that vaguely threatens they will all quit over Mayor Breed’s mandatory vaccination for city employees policy.
As of press time, that Facebook post is still up and seen above. We will not [sic] all of its many grammatical and spelling errors, but it reads as follows. “While the Mayor London Breed focuses on forcing law enforcement to be vaccinated which will result in Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters retiring early and seeking employment elsewhere, public safety of San Franciso has turned into the Wild West and will get worse when officers quit due to the vaccine mandate. In stead of the mandate the Mayor should let them test weekly and get back to the focus of Guns gone wild in SF. Murders have increased. #letthemtest”
As an aside, SFist will note the irony that the front page of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association website features a “Remembering Law Enforcement Heroes” section, which currently highlights a Deputy Sheriff Jon Melvin who “died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 during a presumed exposure while on duty.”
The comments on the post are overwhelmingly critical of the anti-vaccine sentiment, which is unusual, because the kind of person who follows the SF Deputy Sheriffs’ union on Facebook tends to be a ‘Support the Boys in Blue’ type of person. Not on this one.
There are currently 115 comments on the post, and precisely one of them is supportive. “Do all lives matter or not? Get vaccinated,” quipped one commenter.
In fairness, many (but not all) public sector unions are also opposed to vaccine mandates. And most but not all elected officials are determined to hold their ground on this — except elected officials who are facing a recall, in which case the elected official will back off the vaccine mandate and then have Starbucks and a muffin basket delivered to their employee break room along with some “No on the Recall” literature.
And it is not unexpected that unions would instinctively flex against a workplace mandate. Unions will generally oppose any added requirement that is not part of their collective bargaining agreement. That’s part of what unions are supposed to do in normal times.
But these are not normal times. Vaccine avoidance is driving the Delta surge, and Breed’s vaccine requirements are a very common-sense tactic to keep people from dying. When elected officials legislate with that goal in mind, even law enforcement unions are not above the law.
Related: Of Course the SF Police Union Doesn't Want Those Black Lives Matter Posters In Stations [SFist]
Image: San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs Association via Facebook