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Tampa vaccine mandate: Workers support new policy, city says

Members of three unions, which represent the majority of workers, voted in support of the city's policy to get vaccinated or get tested.

TAMPA, Fla. — A majority of Tampa employees represented by a union voted to approve the city's recent vaccine mandate.

The city said in a news release that members of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, Tampa Fire Fighters Local 754 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1464 voted by a 75-percent majority in support of the policy.

Those three unions represent about 80 percent of all city of Tampa employees, the news release states.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced last month that city employees will have until Sept. 30 to get their COVID-19 vaccine or show a valid medical or religious reason why they cannot get one.

Workers also could opt for weekly COVID testing and wear a medical-grade mask at work.

"I could not be prouder of our City of Tampa team," said Castor in a statement in reaction to the vote. "Our goal is simple: to protect our employees and our community, while maintaining the high level of service that our residents expect.

"In an effort to balance health and safety, we provided employees options that include weekly testing instead of vaccinations, and we worked in collaboration with our union leaders to get the facts out to all employees and dispel false rumors."

The city said union leaders supported the new policy, but it had to be supported by their members.