Thousands March Across the Brooklyn Bridge to Protest Vaccine Mandate for City Workers

Thousands March Across the Brooklyn Bridge to Protest Vaccine Mandate for City Workers

By Yehudit Garmaise

    Approximately 46,000 unvaccinated city employees have one week from today: until Nov. 1, to get their first vaccine dose or be put on unpaid leave, and they are not happy about it.

     To express their objection to the city’s vaccination mandate for municipal workers, thousands of unvaccinated city employees met in downtown Brooklyn to march across the Brooklyn Bridge, which had to close all of its inbound lanes, as the protestors made their way to City Hall.

      In a show of respect and appreciation for the city’s frontline workers and first responders, Mayor Bill de Blasio raised to $500, the $100 incentive he has been offering New Yorkers who get their shots at a city-run vaccination sites.

     However, the extra $500, nor did the many reassurances that the vaccine shots are safe and effective in preventing the hospitalizations and deaths of not only the shots’ recipients, but their families and communities, can persuade the anti-mandate protesters continue to say that whether they get their shots should remain “their personal choice.”

      One protestor, for instance, who protested New York's vaccine mandate outside the Barclays Center yesterday told NBC that said he and others were fighting for “bodily autonomy and sovereignty," and the right to choose what goes inside them.

     “We also know so much more than we knew 18 months ago about the virus," he said. "We have therapeutics that have been tried and proven to great success. Unfortunately, those kinds of voices are being totally suppressed and censored.”

     While many unvaccinated workers in the Department of Education stepped up to get their shots after being put on unpaid leave police officers, many in the city worry that police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers will not do the same, leaving huge gaps in the city’s most essential departments.

      Last week, the mayor said that the although the city’s workers work “in noble professions, they are there for a paycheck, and they are not going to go without it.”

     In the event that large numbers of city workers do not choose to get vaccinated and return to work, the mayor said that, if necessary, he will fill the city’s staffing gaps, “by paying overtime to those who are working, do redeployments, and by re-adjusting the workforce,” he said. 

     “We feel confident that even if there is a temporary dynamic of some people not being ready right away, we are going to find our way through it.”

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