The Steamship Authority has made vaccination progress with 93 percent of the people on its payroll, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. As of the end of last week, 474 of 511 employees were “fully vaccinated, had at least one shot, or had submitted documentation of an upcoming vaccine appointment,” Driscoll said.
Driscoll was unable to break down the figures further, and say how many employees had one shot and how many had submitted documentation. Driscoll also could not provide vaccination figures for the Centerplate employees, who provide contract food service aboard SSA ferries. The total number of employees cited by the SSA is less than the 700 previously reported by The Times. Driscoll said 700 or so represents the number of employees who work at the ferry line during its high-season peak, as opposed to the present winter levels.
Jan. 6 marked the deadline for a requisite vaccine dose for all SSA employees. Full vaccination must be accomplished for all employees by Feb. 16.
Driscoll noted the SSA hasn’t had to close any facilities or cancel any trips due to staff shortages. Driscoll also said the vaccine mandate, which The Times broke the news of on Tuesday, was the result of an executive session vote by the board. The mandate comes with an incentive of $500 for every full-time employee who gets fully vaccinated. The dollar value of the incentive is less for part-time employees. The money for the incentives comes from the SSA’s general fund. Prior to the mandate, the SSA reported that about 65 percent of its employees were fully vaccinated.
On Monday Driscoll told The Times that last week the SSA human resources department was “inundated with paperwork and questions from our staff about the vaccine policy, which went into effect Wednesday, and their work was further slowed by Friday’s weather.”
These factors delayed access to the requested figures, he noted.
Driscoll told The Times that no employees were terminated, and none resigned because of the vaccine mandate. So what about the other 7 percent? “That would include those who have submitted requests for exemptions and those who have not turned in any documentation yet (so they may be on vacation, for example, or have worked at the beginning of the week but not at the end of the week, after the policy went into effect Wednesday),” Driscoll wrote.
Updated to include information on employees who have not complied with the mandate.