CTA makes vaccines mandatory for employees, transit unions to fight back

Posted: 8 September 2021 | | No comments yet

The CTA’s decision has proved controversial among some transit unions, but the authority has insisted it does not want to fire anyone.

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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has announced that it will require all of its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 25 October, or face disciplinary action.

The CTA joins the City of Chicago, State of Illinois and hundreds of commercial businesses—in requiring its employees to be vaccinated – but the move has proved controversial in some quarters.

“From the onset of the pandemic, the CTA has been an essential service provider for the City of Chicago, and our number one priority has been and always will be the health and well-being of our employees and customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.

“In order for us to continue safely serving the Chicago area, it is now time for the remainder of our workforce to join the nearly 200 million Americans who are fully-vaccinated to help fight off these variants and protect our loved ones and others who cannot be vaccinated.”

The move has not been welcomed by everyone though, with some local unions insisting that the city’s transit staff should be able to decide for themselves whether they get vaccinated or not.

“We fully believe that the choice of a vaccination should be up to a person and not forced upon them,” Keith Hill, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241 president, who represents bus employees, told the Chicago Sun Times.

“We do plan on trying to fight this. Our attorneys went to the circuit court to get an injunction this afternoon.”

The CTA says employees can provide proof of vaccination via the CTA’s internal employee portal, which is used by all personnel for managing their personal and administrative information. The information will be confidential and secure.

The authority says employees who do not provide proof of vaccination by the 25 October deadline will face discipline in accordance with the CTA disciplinary guidelines.

“Our goal is not to fire anyone. Our goal is to provide everyone with a safe work and travel environment,” CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski told the Chicago Sun-Times.