Approximately 9,000 municipal workers in New York City were sent home without pay yesterday due to De Blasio’s vaccine mandate announced on Oct. 20, 2021. There are about 378,000 municipal employees in the city.
Applications for medical and religious exemptions were due Oct. 29 by 5 p.m. Pending approval or denial; officers will be able to work with pay as long as they wear masks and agree to weekly testing.
Firefighters and sanitation workers have more support from their leadership than do officers with the NYPD, according to a 9-year veteran of the NYPD who contacted UncoverDC over the weekend. That is because Police Commissioner, Dermot Shea, is 100% behind the vaccine. The coercion is working because the NYPD’s vaccination rate is 85%, a 15% jump over last week. Only about ninety officers were placed on unpaid leave as of Tuesday. Shea declared he sees no threat to public safety, saying his department is “in really good shape.”
According to the New York Post, “Just over 73 percent of the department’s workforce, which includes nearly 35,000 uniformed officers and just under 18,000 civilian employees, have been vaccinated as of Tuesday.” A request for a temporary restraining order by the largest police union in the city, The Police Benevolent Association-(PBA-NYC), was denied by a Staten Island judge. The New York Post writes:
“Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Lizette Colon ruled that Mayor Bill de Blasio can enforce his COVID-19 vaccine mandate that requires all city workers, including members of the NYPD, to get their first dose by Friday 5 p.m.—or else be placed on unpaid leave.”
The PBA-NYC filed an appeal on Oct. 28. The court also rejected the appeal.
The NYPD officer mentioned above, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he will not take the jab. Unfortunately, that means he may be giving up the benefits and compensation he would receive with his approaching ten years of service. Many of his colleagues are sadly “feeling pressured and giving in to the mandate,“ he said. Others, including himself, are attending protests—“something he has never done”—and are trying to stick it out.
While he believes he can probably figure out a way to support his family, many of his friends feel forced to get the jab because they are worried about job security. As a result, friends have started a fund to help officers who may feel financial strain during this transition period.
The NYPD and other municipal workers just blocked traffic on the Brooklyn bridge, not to protest murders, but to protest vaccine mandates.
— Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (@JoshuaPotash) October 25, 2021
Protests from sanitation workers may exert more leverage than others because New Yorkers are not big fans of trash piling up on the streets.
NYC is piling up with trash as the deadline to get vaccinated was last Friday Oct 29th. As of Thursday Oct 28th, just 67% of sanitation workers were vaccinated: pic.twitter.com/HBVBZtOxUZ
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) November 1, 2021
Hundreds of firefighters in NYC called in sick on Monday due to the mandates on the heels of protests last week that saw them march to the Mayor’s mansion with other municipal workers. 2,300 firefighters were out “sick” as of Monday.
Many in the department have years of experience and the benefits that go with it. But they are quitting anyway for a variety of reasons, many rightly claiming natural immunity. “Seventy percent already recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity,” according to Andrew Ansbro, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. However, it is putting tremendous strain on those who are still working—some having to work double shifts.
Mayor De Blasio warned city workers that anyone violating the mandate due to sick-outs would suffer the consequences. He also emphasized the Taylor Law, saying he would take people to court. The Taylor law prevents unions from coordinating job strikes. He announced the vaccine mandate in early August.
During an 18-minute Spectrum News 1 interview, DeBlasio also said firefighters and police officers who are calling out sick are “breaking their oath and harming the city.” He wasn’t worried about safety because “there is a lot of redundancy and strong leadership” in the Departments.