Move comes after advocacy by transit operators, unions and support from County Officials
The State of California has announced that transit workers are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations following strong advocacy by transit operators across the state. VTA and its four labor unions worked together to advocate at the state and local level to urgently prioritize frontline transit employees to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Santa Clara County Public Health Officials support this move and will begin to take vaccination appointments for transit workers starting March 15, 2021.
“VTA transit workers have been on the front lines since the beginning of this pandemic over a year ago, transporting our transit-dependent and the most vulnerable in our communities every day,” said Acting General Manager Evelynn Tran. “The vaccination of our transit workers is urgently needed, and this is our shot at being the healthiest we can be – for ourselves and for each other. We are so pleased and could not be more ready!”
The hard-fought victory comes as welcome news to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265 whose members consist mainly of bus and light rail operators, or 45 percent of VTA’s workforce. “This advocacy and hard work did not happen inside of our COVID bubble,” says ATU President John Courtney. “We fought for this to happen on the front lines while keeping transit service on the street. We are ready to get in line, roll up our sleeves and take our shot.”
Earlier this year, VTA submitted to the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health a prioritized list of frontline employees who have the most interaction with the public. VTA will continue to work with the County on vaccination implementation while setting a realistic expectation that this process will depend on vaccine availability.
“I feel like it’s Christmas in March,” said Glenn Hendricks, VTA’s Board Chair. “Protecting VTA workers through vaccination adds one more layer of protection for our customers, employees, and their families and loved ones. I appreciate this inclusion from the state and the support from our county public health officials to make this happen.”