December 8, 2021

‘I’m not afraid to be homeless’: Unvaccinated BART employees react after learning of denied exemption

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — On the eve of the Thanksgiving vacation, a quantity of unvaccinated BART employees realized their requests for a spiritual exemption to the BART COVID-19 vaccine mandate was denied.

The denial e-mail clarifies that if the worker does not get vaccinated, retire, or resign, BART will search their termination.

“It just kicked me in the stomach this morning when I came in and read that,” mentioned 19-year BART worker Albert Roth. Roth is unvaccinated and works as a automated fare assortment employee. He is additionally an ordained minister who had requested a spiritual exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. He acquired an e-mail Wednesday morning, saying, “After careful review and consideration of the information provided, your request is denied.”

“Yeah J.R. I’m not giving in and there’s a number of us that have the same opinion. We’re not giving in, we’re holding ground, holding firm on what our beliefs are,” mentioned Roth.

The transit company’s vaccine mandate goes into impact on December 13. BART tells as of proper now, about 600 employees are unvaccinated. Board director Rebecca Saltzman mentioned this final month, “We need to protect the health and safety of BART workers and BART riders.”

In an announcement, BART says, “We are working with our labor partners to deliver safe and reliable service now and in the future.”

Roth believes a loss of lots of of employees might affect security, and so does Neighborhood Service Officer and 14-year BART worker Rhiannon Doyle. Doyle acquired her spiritual exemption denial Wednesday, too.

“In my department alone I believe there is 60 of us, I’d say a good handful are civilians maybe 5 or 10, but the rest are officers. That is really going to impact the response time for emergencies,” mentioned Doyle.

Doyle says she’s not an anti-vaxer, however had coronavirus in September and believes taking the vaccine would be an try to repair one thing that is not damaged.

Doyle and Roth are in opposition to being instructed what to put of their physique and say they’re prepared to stroll if want be and each day testing is not allowed.

“I’ve been homeless before and this is what I told the BART board, ya know. I’m not afraid to be homeless again, it is what it is, but now they’re tapping into people’s rights and I’m not going to stand for that, not on my watch,” says Doyle.

BART says riders are relying on a wholesome workforce. They plan to maintain extra vaccine clinics for unvaccinated employees subsequent week.

VIDEO: Lots of collect close to Golden Gate Bridge to protest vaccine mandates