The MTA hasn’t found out a manner to ensure its hundreds of unvaccinated workers are getting obligatory weekly COVID-19 tests, officers mentioned Thursday — 10 days after the transportation authority’s “vaccine-or-test” mandate went into impact.
Officials are as a substitute making certain compliance by “audits,” or spot checks of worker check outcomes, MTA communications director Tim Minton mentioned. Just 68.3 % of MTA workers have informed the authority they’re vaccinated — in comparison with a 76.8 % vaccination rate amongst all grownup NYC residents.
“All MTA employees are required to either be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing as of October 4, and compliance is subject to audit,” Minton mentioned in a press release. “Employees found to be out of compliance as part of the audit will be subject to appropriate follow up from their supervisors.”
Multiple MTA workers, nonetheless, mentioned they’d seen no such audits. Workers are anticipated to add their vaccination playing cards or check outcomes to an inner database, however nobody checks to ensure they’ve earlier than they arrive to work.
“Nobody asked me, ‘Hey, did you upload everything?’ They said, ‘Please be sure to upload,’” mentioned one worker, who requested anonymity. “It sounds like they’re figuring it out, and one of the issues they have is they don’t have enough people right now to do what they want to do.”
Workers reported a equally lackadaisical strategy on the Long Island Rail Road, the place simply 64 % of employees are vaccinated — lower than another MTA subsidiary company.
“They’re sending us emails telling us the rules, but they’re telling us that they have no direction, don’t know what to do and are doing nothing,” mentioned one LIRR supply. “If an individual wants to comply, he does. If not, nothing happens, at least for now.”
The MTA employs just below 70,000 individuals. Since March 2020, 173 authority workers have died from COVID-19, in response to its official rely. Anyone employed by the MTA after Nov. 14 of this yr might be required to have been vaccinated for the virus.
TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano, who represents almost 40,000 subway and bus employees, urged persistence because the MTA figures out easy methods to implement the mandate.
“We’ve always supported COVID testing as a way to detect any asymptomatic cases in the workforce and we continue to do so. It’s a logistical challenge with such a large workforce by an important program,” Utano mentioned in a press release.