My name is Paul Lunkwitz and I am the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Nevada C.O. Lodge 21. Our Lodge is made up of Category 3 Peace officers in Nevada. Primarily NDOC Correctional Officers. As I am sure you are aware, there was a Board of Prison Commissioners meeting yesterday. At this meeting Governor Sisolak stated that employees will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He went on to state that if employees refused, they would be required to pay for their own COVID-19 tests weekly. Currently, inmate visitors receive free COVID-19 tests from the NDOC. Visiting is a privilege that inmates‘ friends and family are not required to do. The feedback from a large amount of officers is that they feel that they are being forced to get vaccinated when it should be a personal choice. If they do not get vaccinated, they will have to come out of pocket to pay for required tests. Also, they changed the leave procedure in regard to employees who test positive for COVID-19. Previously, anyone who tested positive would be placed on administrative leave, until they are cleared to come back to work. Administrative leave does not come out of your leave balance. Now, if you are vaccinated and get COVID-19, you are placed on administrative leave. If you are not vaccinated and get COVID-19, you must use your own sick leave to cover your time off. You are not allowed to come to work, yet you are punished by relinquishing your earned state benefit. I do not bring this to your attention because officers are whining or want people to feel sorry for them, but to illuminate the Governor’s misuse of power in order to push his agenda. This is further illustrated by his comments at the meeting in reference to side effects from the vaccine. He mocked the side effects by saying sore arms is not a reason to not get the vaccine. His statement was half chuckling, as if people are ignorant if they have concerns over getting the vaccine. I was contacted today by an officer who related that a coworker‘s cousin died as a result of the vaccine. The vaccine is very new and a lot of people are very concerned about their right to be free from coercion into putting something in their body that they are not comfortable with. Many feel as if they are being forced into an experiment. This brings into question the Nuremberg code, which requires consent(USA V. Brandt). This is due to many reports that the vaccine is not FDA approved. The Governor’s refusal to acknowledge employees concerns and his actions to cause financial burden on those who choose not to take the vaccine is distasteful. If the NDOC wants to test its employees, no one is opposing this requirement, but attempting to force people to do this in a state agency by forcing them to pay for testing is unreasonable. To my knowledge there is nothing in the newly negotiated contract allowing them to do this to employees. There is nothing to my knowledge that outlines this in our job requirements. Officer safety is a mandatory bargaining subject. This means that changes like this must be negotiated. The Governor has no intention of discussing or negotiating this with the state employees. Dictator Sisolak is not concerned with governing properly, but ruling at his whim. If this interests you if you would like more information feel free to email me. Thank you for your consideration.
FOP Nevada C.O. Lodge 21
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