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Report: Bridgeport awaits vaccination status of 600 workers

October 23, 2021 GMT

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Roughly 600 Bridgeport city workers haven’t yet submitted proof of vaccination against the coronavirus, nearly a month after a deadline for them to do so or get tested weekly, according to a published report.

The number represents about 40% of the municipal workforce in Connecticut’s largest city, excluding school staffers, who are subject to a statewide inoculation-or-tests requirement.

It’s unclear how many of the Bridgeport workers in that 40% are complying with the city’s testing alternative, the Connecticut Post reported Friday.

The state has fired 22 workers, has put 29 others on unpaid leave and is working to suspend or dismiss 70 more since its requirement took effect Oct. 4, Gov. Ned Lamont’s office said Friday.

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Bridgeport’s deadline was Sept. 27. The city has yet to take disciplinary action, though labor relations chief Eric Amado said he has been talking with unions about potential consequences for noncompliance, according to the Post.

City human resources manager Sandra Ferreira said it has taken time to explain the requirement and reporting system to staffers who don’t have desk jobs and may not check emails, and to figure out how to offer vaccinations and tests at suitable times for those workers.

“We worked with each individual department to accommodate the working hours. They’re now understanding the process of our order and what needs to be done,” and the percentage of vaccinated employees is rising, Ferreira said.

Edward Gavin, a lawyer who represents the city’s union for supervisors, told the newspaper he hadn’t heard of any employee challenges to the requirement.

City Council President Aidee Nieves said Mayor Joe Ganim should set a new deadline.

“Not being vaccinated can put our community at risk,” Nieves said.

But Council Member Jeanette Herron said the city should continue to work with staffers, not fire them.

“I don’t feel somebody should lose their job,” she said.