President of Local 615 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Darcy Pederson, is calling upon the Moe government to give priority vaccine access to transit workers as the government announced its next phase of vaccine rollouts last week. They once again failed to include transit workers.
Transit professionals are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to the COVID-19 virus as a result of their interaction with millions of riders per day. The high volume of interaction has led to more than 3500 ATU transit workers being infected in both Canada and the US.
“Transit workers are responsible for moving our country’s front line health care workers, grocery store clerks and many other essential workers,” said President Pederson. “This is why it is crucial to prioritize transit professionals to ensure safe, reliable service.”
Public transit is essential to all residents of Saskatoon. An outbreak among transit agencies could have devastating consequences for our most vulnerable communities. Although many cities have implemented mandatory use of face coverings from coast to coast, there has been little to no concrete enforcement of rules put in place to protect those in the transit industry. Since the start of the pandemic, ATU Canada has been advocating for safety barriers, social distancing, rear-door loading and other measures meant to hinder the spread of the virus for our 34,000 transit professionals as well as transit workers everywhere.
“Giving transit workers safe working conditions during a global pandemic includes priority vaccines access,” said Pederson. “This measure is a necessary and essential step that cannot be overlooked and we are prepared to assist both the municipal and provincial government to ensure the delivery of the vaccine to all transit professionals.”