VTA union president claims vaccine mandate is linked to recent shooting threat

The union head who represents Valley Transportation Authority workers asserted on Saturday that a male employee who was arrested after making workplace shooting threats was “facing pressures” to receive a vaccine shot mandated by the transit agency.

The comments come after the Friday arrest by sheriff’s deputies of a male VTA worker who was allegedly making shooting threats in front of other employees at the Chaboya Division Yard in San Jose on the 2200 block of South 10th Street. The sheriff’s department did not specify whether any specific threats were made or if the man owned any firearms.

In his statement, Amalgamated Transit Union President John Courtney said he has “pleaded” in the past with the transit agency to not put “undue pressure” on its workers and threaten termination for those who are unvaccinated.

“The next person subjected to unnecessary stress from VTA management and contemplating harm may not say anything,” said Courtney, who has suggested a once-a-week testing regiment instead of mandated vaccines.

“We are no longer in a vaccination crisis we are in a mental health crisis,” he added.

Courtney did not respond to a request for comment asking to provide evidence that the shooting threats and vaccine mandate were related. A sheriff’s department spokesperson declined to provide comment.

Courtney’s statement drew a sharp rebuke from the VTA administration.

“Violent threats are unacceptable and should not be defended under any circumstances,” VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross said in a statement on Sunday. “Also unacceptable is the behavior and continued blame by ATU leadership who has worked to thwart the progress to protect employees rather than advance it. We are working diligently through various options for those not yet vaccinated; however, public false assertions do not benefit the process.”

“VTA is carefully implementing policies and working with our employees to make sure we have the safest conditions for employees and our passengers,” Hendler Ross added.

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Unlike other Bay Area transit agencies, hundreds of VTA’s workers remained unvaccinated until the end of April when employees were required to get a shot. According to numbers provided by the transit agency, around 95% of the 1,494 workers that ATU’s represents are fully vaccinated. Those that have …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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