SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco is just days away from the November 1st deadline for city workers to be vaccinated, including dozens of Muni employees.
In September, it looked like the mandate could cause problems for Muni, along with the SFPD, but the deadline seems to have been effective.
“We’ve been able to educate our membership about what’s going on citywide, state wide, nationwide pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Roger Marenco of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A. “And we’ve been able to reduce our numbers drastically.”
With the city’s deadline just days away, the number of unvaccinated Muni operators has plummeted.
“I think it’s less than 100 at the moment,” Marenco said.
At the start of the month, 275 operators, about 18% of Muni’s bus and train drivers, were unvaccinated. Now, that number is down to 87, or about 6% of the force. This after a big push by SFMTA.
“Unvaccinated employees and those who haven’t yet recorded their status will be receiving letters from human resources, educating them about what they need to do in order to avoid being terminated,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said earlier this month.
Despite that progress, on Wednesday the agency said so-called “short” line service, which run on a portion of a longer Muni line, will be suspended on some lines. Upcoming staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees was cited as the reason.
Suspended lines include the 1 California Short, 14R Mission Rapid Short (weekends only), 30 Stockton Short, and 49 Van Ness Short (weekdays only).
San Francisco’s police force has seen a similar drop. In early October, 276 officers were unvaccinated, 13% of the department. Now it’s 38, less than 2 percent of officers. BART’s vaccine deadline is also on the horizon.
“So 80% of our employees are vaccinated, which is a great step,” says BART Spokesperson Alicia Trost. “We, obviously, need to get it to 100%.”
BART employees, by order of the BART board, must be vaccinated by December 13th. As of now, about 800 are not, but the agency thinks that number will change.
“We know that vaccine mandates work when you look at other areas that had a deadline far before ours,” Trost says. “Employees go and get vaccinated.”
BART is still negotiating with its union about what happens come December. As for the San Francisco employees who have not received a shot by next week, there will be consequences.
“For those of our operators that are still not vaccinated, they obviously still have until 1 November to be vaccinated,” Marenco explains. “If not, they will go through the process, the disciplinary process. They will not be terminated on the first day of November, they will go through the process.”