SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's vaccine mandate deadline is now less than a month away and there appears to be a battle brewing between hundreds of Muni bus drivers and the city.
640 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employees are unvaccinated. More than half of those are Muni operators.
"Taking 300 transit operators off the job would mean double or triple the amount of waiting that people are waiting for at this moment!"
That's what Transit Workers Union of America President Roger Marenco says will happen if unvaccinated muni bus operators are fired for not getting the vaccine by November 1, like San Francisco is requiring.
"It's a scary situation because it's sort of like the city or county of San Francisco chopping off their own leg when you don't need to," says Marenco.
At Tuesday's SFMTA meeting we learned that 640 municipal transportation agency employees aren't vaccinated. More than 300 of those are muni operators. That's 13% to 15% percent of the city's total bus drivers and less than 50 are currently asking for exceptions.
Marenco says operators want a choice of getting the vaccine or taking a daily COVID test, which isn't currently an option.
This Muni operator told ABC7 News he got his two shots. Ask riders how they feel and most have strong opinions, some against.
"I think about vaccination and it should be about choice because then it is starting to turn into a monarchy type, they're just gonna force everybody," says Muni rider Carley Mac.
"If they don't want to take it, they shouldn't take it. I don't think it's right to lay people off that have been working the entire pandemic," says Muni rider Jason Favreau.
And some for the vaccination mandate:
"Regardless, if it could get slower I still think they should get vaccinated," says Muni rider Angel Rivas.
"I would like for them to be vaccinated, it's for our protection and their protection, a lot of people depend on Muni," says rider Maribel Ramirez.
The mandate could also lead to terminations for unvaccinated parking control officers, who are also part of the SFMTA.
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