Allegheny County

Port Authority call-offs in protest of vaccine mandate causing service delays

PITTSBURGH — Port Authority of Allegheny County commuters may have noticed delays over the weekend, and they’re likely to continue because of call-offs in apparent protest of a vaccination requirement.

No workers equals no buses, and that may soon be a reality for Port Authority commuters.

“I can’t get anywhere if there are no buses,” said Sage, a downtown bus commuter.

On Friday afternoon, the Port Authority’s CEO sent out a letter stating there was a “significant number” of call-offs just days before the company’s vaccine mandate goes into effect on Tuesday.

CEO Katharine Kelleman directed her comments to workers, stating:

“The union had the opportunity to challenge the vaccine requirement in court and lost,” said Kelleman. “Rather than continuing to fight, ATU Local 85 leadership should encourage its remaining unvaccinated members to get vaccinated.”

Kelleman also warned of delays and disruption over the next few weeks as “employees in violation of the agency’s vaccine requirement participate in disciplinary hearings to address their non-compliance of the policy.”

Currently, an estimated 500 workers remain unvaccinated, something commuters said could pose a challenge if they cannot or won’t work.

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“I can’t Lyft and Uber all the time. That’s way too costly,” said Sage.

Commuters Channel 11 spoke with said they understand the company’s dilemma and hope that both sides can come to a compromise, at least for the sake of commuters.

“Times are tough now, and this pandemic isn’t helping,” said bus commuter Trevon Staton. “I just hope that whatever they are doing they are being considerate of the city of Pittsburgh.”

Channel 11 News spoke with ATU Local 85 leaders, who confirmed they plan to hold a press conference on Monday at 10 a.m.