By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Port Authority will now require the COVID-19 vaccine for all 2,600 of its employees.
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Port Authority leadership announced the new mandate Monday, notifying its employee unions.
Employees must “be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by March 15 or face discipline up to termination.”
The new policy goes effect on Feb. 1.
“With the recent surge of the Omicron variant and the proven success of the vaccine against severe illness and death, it became clear to me that a vaccine requirement is the most effective way for us to protect our employees and riders,” Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman said in a statement. “We’ve already seen what the virus has done to our service, and our riders can’t afford to have even more missed trips and delays. This will help ensure our employees remain healthy and protected so they can deliver the safe and reliable public transportation that Allegheny County deserves.”
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The policy will not include a testing option in lieu of being vaccinated, the agency said.
Any employee in violation of the policy on or after March 16, and does not have an exemption, could face some type of discipline, including termination from their job.
The Port Authority is working with its unions to continue possible financial incentives and paid time off for employees who experience side effects from the vaccine.
To date, 74% of Port Authority’s employees are vaccinated.
Seven Port Authority employees have died since the start of the pandemic, the agency says. Four died before the vaccine was widely available and three were not vaccinated.
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For more information on the Port Authority’s COVID-19 safety plan, click here.