NYC puts 9,000 workers on unpaid leave as vaccine mandate kicks in

Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that every American mayor, governor, and CEO should be subject to a full vaccine mandate. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images New York NYC puts 9,000 workers on unpaid leave as vaccine mandate kicks in
New York City put 9,000 city workers on unpaid leave Monday, as the coronavirus vaccine mandate was implemented for the public workforce.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's requirement, which is one of the most agressive in the country, has increased the city worker vaccination rate to 91 per cent.

However, at least 21,000 city workers still have not been vaccinated. This includes 9,000 who are now barred from work and 12,000 who have applied to religious or medical exemptions. The latter group will be allowed to work while exemptions are considered. The city's total workforce is approximately 378,000.

De Blasio stated Monday that this mandate was the right thing. It has now been proven to be successful.

Although they are among the lowest-vaccinated groups, first responders and uniformed agencies still have the lowest rates. However, this has been improving in recent days. Currently, 77% of firefighters have had at least one shot; 83 percent have received Sanitation workers, 83% of NYPD, and 88% of emergency medical services.

This mandate has led to thousands of firefighters being called in sick, violent protests by city workers and unsuccessful lawsuits.

De Blasio stated that agencies fill in the gaps by providing overtime and additional shifts.

He said Monday that there were no disruptions in city services. People are taking up the slack.

224.72 city workers have received the vaccine since de Blasio's Oct. 20 mandate for 380,000 city employees. After the deadline of 5 p.m. for employees to submit proof, 3,564 people complied and received the shot before being dismissed from work.

Previous mandates required teachers, public school staff, and health care workers in the public hospital system to have the shot. The rate for agencies included in the new order has increased from 71% to 86% since it was announced.

Monday saw 2,300 firefighters call in sick. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro stated that most of them were faking it. Out of 350 units, 18 fire companies were left without service. Although no firehouses were shut down, many companies were still short of staff.

It is a serious offense for a city worker to fake it and put lives at risk. De Blasio stated that there will be consequences, but he couldn't specify the disciplinary actions.

The mayor warned that the city will be scrutinizing union leaders who protest the mandate for possible violations of labor laws. He said that they are monitoring everything they do, including every tweet, email and every tweet. We will immediately take action if we find a violation to the Taylor Law.

Monday's protest by firefighters union against the mandate was unconstitutional. They complained about unvaccinated members being sent home and forced fire companies to close.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association stated in a tweet that this will place New Yorkers' lives at risk.

Federal and state courts have so far rejected suits that are against the mandate.

Edward Grayson, the Sanitation Commissioner, stated that he hopes to catch up with garbage collection by Monday. This is after workers refused to pick up trash bags in protest. To clean up the mess, they worked an additional shift on Sunday.

He said that if you fall behind it will take some time to get the ship back on track. We are continuing to fill the gaps in our service.

Commissioner Dermot Shea of the NYPD stated that there is no impact on service since most unvaccinated cops applied for exemptions. Unpaid leave has been granted to only 34 uniformed officers, and 40 civilian employees.

As exemptions are decided, more employees could be banned from working in the future. De Blasio stated that they would be granted only very narrowly.

He said that a lot of people will eventually find out that the exemption was not approved. They still have the chance to rectify, get vaccinated and come back.

Workers on leave may return to work at any time they wish, provided they are given the chance.

De Blasio encouraged other cities and states alike to adopt a similar New York-style vaccine mandate.

He said that every American mayor, governor, and CEO of any company must be vaccinated. This will end the Covid era for good.