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Hamilton’s transit union urges council not to mandate employee vaccination

As COVID-19 case numbers rise, the HSR is adjusting service levels to ensure it can continue offering consistent service to customers. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

The union representing Hamilton’s transit workers is urging council not to make vaccination mandatory for city employees.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107 President Eric Tuck says the union “absolutely encourages and supports the belief that vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic, and we highly recommend that all our members get vaccinated.”

Tuck adds, however, that the ATU is “fundamentally opposed to mandatory vaccination.”

Read more: City of Toronto will require all employees to have both COVID-19 vaccine shots by Oct. 30

“We do not believe an employer, government body or any agency should have the right to make vaccinations a condition of employment,” says Tuck, “except where it was a prerequisite clearly spelled out prior to being hired.”

“To arbitrarily mandate vaccinations,” adds Tuck, “violates personal rights and the freedom of choice with respect to the sanctity of one’s own body.”

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Tuck also stresses that policies “must ensure that those who choose not to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons will receive necessary employment accommodations and will not be disadvantaged in any way.”

Read more: Vaccination or negative COVID-19 test needed to attend Ti-Cat, Forge FC games after Labour Day

Hamilton City Council is expected to debate mandatory vaccination of city employees during a special meeting on Thursday.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger has spoken in favour of a mandatory vaccination policy calling it “something we can lead on.”

“Seventy-five per cent of city staff work with the public,” notes Eisenberger, “so ensuring they’re vaccinated is necessary to protect the community.”

 

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