PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On the eve of the deadline for Allegheny County employees to be vaccinated or face termination, it appears the number of workers refusing to be vaccinated will be fewer than expected.
At a demonstration earlier this month, county and city employees said they were dug in and would refuse vaccines even if it meant losing their jobs. But their numbers have since dwindled.READ MORE: Bitter Bus Stop Mornings: To Cancel, Delay, Or Keep School Open?
At the time, more than 100 corrections officers had not been vaccinated. But union chief Brian Englett said that has dropped to about 10.
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“A lot of my officers thought that they were taken emotionally hostage with two paychecks left before Christmas. A lot of these guys are close to retirement and they don’t want to lose their job or their benefits until they can retire from the jail,” he said.
Across the board, the threat of termination appears to have achieved compliance. Nearly all of the workers in the Treasurer’s Office are fully vaccinated, as are the great majority of deputies and civilian employees in the sheriff’s office.READ MORE: Search For Suspects Continues After Student Killed In Shooting Outside Oliver Citywide Academy
“Right now, things are going pretty good. We have a total of 10 people who have not shown proof of fully vaccination,” Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Kraus said.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he’s hoping for almost full compliance across the board.
“Over 90 percent of our employees have not only gotten the vax, they got the two vaccines, ect. They’re fully vaccinated,” he said
A federal judge denied the corrections officers union an injunction to block the order, but the union is hoping the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board will declare it an unfair labor practice and reinstate those who do lose their jobs.
Kraus said the order, while difficult, was necessary. He’s hoping all will show proof by Wednesday.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Frigid Temperatures Wrap Up The Week
“We take it serious. Our end goal is to keep the workplace as safe as possible and keep our deputies and personal safe, as well the public. Hopefully, we’ll have 100 percent compliance on this,” Kraus said.