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'We Are Against Being Mandated To Do So:' Unvaccinated Port Authority Employees Speak Out

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Dozens of Port Authority employees are pushing back against the service's vaccination requirement.

Workers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or did not have proof they were vaccinated were told not to come into work.

They say they went from being called heroes, while they were working during the peak of the pandemic, to now being treated like zeroes as many could now face unemployment for not being vaccinated.

Port Authority's vaccine mandate went into effect earlier this week and around 500 employees decided not to get the vaccine. The union and Port Authority's inability to come to an agreement has forced delays in service times to buses and the light rail.

Those workers have been outside today chanting such things as "my body, my choice" and "stop the mandate."

The workers say they aren't against the vaccine, but against being forced to take it when their riders don't have to.

"We are scared," said one employee. "We worked 20 months out here while people sat at home. We're asking that you bargain with us. These are our rights, we are not against vaccinations, we are against being mandated to do so."

Each worker who has decided to remain unvaccinated will have a hearing that will decide whether or not they can come back to work and some say without this job, they're not sure what they'll do.

Meanwhile, Port Authority says more than 140 employees returned to work after showing proof they were fully vaccinated.

According to CEO Katharine Kellemen, 90% of employees are either fully vaccinated or have received the first dose.

"We are thrilled to welcome so many of our colleagues back to work," she said.

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