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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dozens of Kansas City, Missouri employees are taking a stand against the city’s new COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Starting next week, unvaccinated city workers will have to provide a negative COVID test every week.
It’s not the way dozens of Kansas City employees wanted to start the new year.

“And so it’s like OK, pay this or I’m going to lose my job,” Reginald Silvers, president of Local 500, said.

In January, unvaccinated workers who want a test provided by the city will need to pay $97 a week. It’s a requirement dozens of workers said they won’t be able to afford.

Previously, unvaccinated workers took a monthly test for free at work.

“This union has, I would say, majority of employees that’s at the living minimum wage, which is just under $16 a hour,” Silver said. “And so, with that if you’re asking someone to pay $97 a week you know that’s really going to put a burden on them.”

Councilman Brandon Ellington met with those who are upset and concerned.

“We’re talking about free taxpayer dollars being reallocated for third-party entities and then we’re forcing city people to pay,” Ellington said.

FOX4 reached out to the city about this. Spokesperson Maggie Green noted that city employees are still able to get a COVID test at a third-party provider like CVS, Walgreens or other healthcare providers. Green also released the following statement:

“The City’s COVID safety policy encourages vaccination for all employees with otherwise weekly COVID tests required for unvaccinated employees. This policy, which has become the standard practice of private and public organizations, has also been in place since the spring of 2021 (testing frequency was at minimum every month at that point).

The City will no longer purchase and provide COVID tests directly from suppliers for employees that choose to remain unvaccinated, as tests are available at no or low cost from a variety of third-party providers including free testing available from the teamsters and the heavy constructor’s union leaderships, or else at CVS, Walgreens, or other healthcare providers.

In addition, the cost of the City purchasing tests directly from suppliers is estimated to be over $1 million on an annual basis. Employees also are able to apply for ‘religious and medical exemptions and we are currently evaluating a list of these exemption applications.”

Maggie Green, city spokesperson

Ellington said he’s working on an ordinance to protect the unvaccinated workers.

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