FDNY Commissioner Nigro: “2,200 Firefighters Called in Sick Today, If That's Not a 'Sick-Out,' Tell Me What Is”

FDNY Commissioner Nigro: “2,200 Firefighters Called in Sick Today, If That's Not a 'Sick-Out,' Tell Me What Is”
By Yehudit Garmaise
      After Dan Nigro, the commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, reported on Monday, with obvious dismay, that 2,300 firefighters: 1,300 more than might be sick on a normal day, had called out sick to protest the city's mandate, yesterday, representatives from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) denied that FDNY anti-vaxxers were participating in a “sick-out.”
     Meanwhile, 12 firehouses citywide are still out of service, and Nigro reported today that many other firehouses are understaffed.
     Yet, James McCarthy, the UFOA president said yesterday, "This assertion that people are faking sick is incorrect."
     To clear things up, BoroPark24 asked Commissioner Nigro: are the firefighters faking sick, like kids who don’t want to go to school, or not?
     “Yeah,” Nigro explained, “the union keeps saying there's no sick out, but I always liked math because two and two always equals four, and that's the way things are.
     “So, if on any given day, the fire department has 1,000 officers out sick, but, lo and behold, today there are 2,200 people out sick.
     “There's no listeria outbreak. There's no outbreak of some mysterious disease. And the numbers started going up nine days ago when the [vaccine] mandate was announced.”
    Although on an average day in the FDNY, 200 officers visit the department’s medical office, two days ago, 900 firefighters came to the medical office, claiming to be sick.
      “If that's not a sick-out, then tell me what it is,” Commissioner Nigro said. “Of course, the numbers went down a little yesterday. They went down further today.
     “So, we're hoping that members are doing what I said, and that is to serve the public and serve their fellow firefighters who are coming to work and stopping this [nonsense].” 
      Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in when he said, “You can see some things before your very eyes.
     “The commissioner obviously knows what typical days look like in terms of sick leave, and suddenly: we see this increase at the exact moment when the mandate takes effect.
     “It's not mysterious to me, obviously, but commissioner give the facts that will help all New Yorkers understand why it's a very unfair situation that people are staying out sick when they're not really sick, and really being unfair to their fellow firefighters and to all New Yorkers.”
     Members of the city’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), who are almost 90% vaccinated, “are doing an unbelievable job and, they are not participating in the ‘sick-out’ that is going on with the firefighters,” Nigro said. “We had a few more ambulances out today than we might have normally had out.
     “Our response times are equal to any other time of the year, and we are providing the service that people expect.”
     Nigro, who mentioned two three-alarm fires in Brooklyn this morning that were put out quickly, said that although in general, he is not having problems staffing firehouses,  some units are understaffed.
      “I would say the combination of the number of people on leave without pay who have decided to not comply with the vaccine mandate and an excessive sick leave rate among firefighters has forced us to have some understaffed units: day in and day out, Nigro said. “That being said: members who are working, those members who staff our fire units are doing a tremendous job.
     “Our response times are fine.”
     “We have an unusually large fire department: there is a lot of redundancy,” the mayor added. “We have standards that provide a lot more manpower for each situation than is true in much of the country.
     “We have great leadership in making sure the resources are where they need to be.”
 Credit: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

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