Mayor says 91% City Workers Vaccinated, Others Say 83%: Remaining Holdouts’ Protests Heat Up

Mayor says 91% City Workers Vaccinated, Others Say 83%: Remaining Holdouts’ Protests Heat Up
   by Yehudit Garmaise
     One day before they are put on unpaid leave, many of the city’s 25,000 unvaccinated workers continue to act out defiantly, and many say, recklessly, against the vaccine mandate.
     On Thursday, for instance, when many residents complained that their garbage was not getting picked up, some wondered whether NYSD were “making some kind of statement” to protest the vaccine mandate by slowing down their pickups, the mayor acknowledged that “we’re definitely seeing that problem in some parts of the city and it's unacceptable." 
     “People may not agree with a decision, but this decision is about the health and safety of all New Yorkers,” said the mayor, who also emphasized that not only do the workers have to obey by law by getting vaccinated, but that when they are on the clock, they have to do their jobs.

     “You're getting paid, you have to do a job,” said the mayor, who claims that 91% of city workers are not vaccinated, although other reports say that number is 83%. “If you don't want to do the job anymore, you know, someone else really will want to do that job, I assure you.”

      Although many city workers have complied with the mandate, as the vaccination rate of city workers has sharply risen in the past few days, at the same time, many firefighters are protesting the mandate by taking medical leave in protests they are calling, “sick-outs,” which have resulted in 26 New York City firehouses, citywide, that were forced to close yesterday.
     “The excessive sick leave by a group of our firefighters because of their anger at the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable, contrary to their oaths to serve, and may endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” FDNY Commission Daniel Nigro said in a statement. “Despite these actions by some, the department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way.”
    But then, last night, Ansbro denied that FDNY members were using medical leave to protest the mandate.
     “Is there a sickout?” said Ansbro. “Not to my knowledge, no.”

     In recent days, however, Ansbro has warned the longer response times as a result of many firefighters being put on unpaid leave will “be a death sentence to some people.”
     On Thursday, hundreds of firefighters protested the vaccine mandate outside of Gracie Mansion, where a reporter heard firefighters saying that they were told report work on Monday, despite being put on unpaid leave.
     “What happens on Nov. 1 will be on [Mayor Bill de Blasio],” said FDNY Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro. “I’ll tell my members to go to work. If he sends them home, it’s on him.”
     Despite the fact that Mayor de Blasio, and not the state, issued the vaccine mandate, yesterday morning, six Brooklyn firefighters were pulled from duty and suspended after they drove a fire truck, with its light’s flashing, to state Sen. Zellnor Myrie’s office to angrily tell him and his staff that they would have “blood on their hands” because of the shortages in staffing and longer response times that would result from so many firefighters going on unpaid leave on Monday.

      The firefighters pressed Myrie’s staff to tell them where the state senator lives, a threatening action that Commissioner Nigro called “highly inappropriate,” before condemning the firefighters for harassing public officials, instead of concentrating on emergencies, and suspending them for four weeks without pay.

    Many members of the NYPD, who have no other religious exemptions in their files, have been asking for religious exemptions for the vaccine, which are expected to be rejected.
     On Wednesday, a New York judge denied a request by the city’s largest police union to temporarily restrain the city’s vaccine mandate.
     “Every court: state and federal has affirmed [the city’s] right [issue a vaccine mandate],” the mayor said on Thursday, “If you're a city worker, you have to abide by the law.”

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

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