9,000 New York workers on leave as vaccination mandate goes into effect
NEW YORK (AP) – About 9,000 city workers have been placed on unpaid leave for refusing to comply with a COVID-19 vaccination mandate that went into effect on Monday, New York Mayor Bill said. by Blasio.
About 9 out of 10 municipal workers covered by the mandate have been vaccinated and there has been no disruption to municipal services due to a staff shortage, de Blasio told reporters during his daily press briefing. New York has more than 300,000 municipal employees.
Fire stations remained open and sanitation workers did an extra pickup on Sunday to make sure trash did not pile up, the mayor said.
“I want to thank everyone who got vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “Thank you for getting the vaccine. Thanks for doing the right thing. Thank you for keeping us going.
City officials fought fierce resistance among a minority of workers in some critical public safety jobs, including police and firefighters, as well as an ongoing legal challenge to the tenure of the city’s largest police union.
Sunday, 1 firefighter out of 4 in the city had still not received the first dose of the vaccine as required. About 1 in 6 police officers and 1 in 6 health workers were still not vaccinated.
More than 3,500 city workers were vaccinated over the weekend. It was after a deadline Friday at 5 p.m. to collect a bonus of $ 500 for showing proof that they had received a dose of the vaccine but before they were put on unpaid leave.
About 12,000 workers requested religious or medical exemptions from the vaccination mandate. They can stay on while city officials review these applications.
City officials said they were prepared for possible staff shortages, calling in vaccinated workers for overtime.
The head of the union that represents the New York firefighters, which fought the vaccination mandate, has warned that public safety could be at risk. The fire department said it was prepared to shut down up to 20% of its fire companies and have 20% less ambulances on the road.
“We are here today because of a mandate that was given not only to our members, but also to all New York City employees, who gave us nine days to make a life changing decision. of their careers or whether or not they are going to take a vaccine, ”Uniformed Firefighters Association president Andrew Ansbro told an early morning press conference.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s highest public safety priority is to stop the spread of COVID-19, which continues to kill a handful of people in the city every day.