Mayor de Blasio: 9K employees on unpaid leave following NYC worker vaccine mandate deadline
Monday was the official first day of the vaccine mandate being fully in effect for New York City workers. Those who are unvaccinated and do not have an exemption are now on unpaid leave.
FDNY union leaders held an emergency press conference this morning to discuss the recent unexpected firehouse closures, along with staffing shortages throughout the agency.
FDNY union leaders emphasized that they are not anti-vaccine but rather “anti-mandate” during the press conference.
The FDNY confirmed that 2,000 members are currently out on medical leave as of today, but there is a shared belief that some of these medical absences are related to symptoms from the vaccine.
There were complaints that FDNY members were only given nine days for this decision, when compared to the 30 days that they said teachers received to prepare for a ruling. Union leaders are urging firefighters to return to work, even if they are not vaccinated.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference that 22,472 vaccinations have been reported since the mandate was announced, including 3,564 over the weekend. The NYPD has 84% of its workforce vaccinated. DSNY is at 83%, FDNY firefighters are at 77%; and FDNY EMS is at 88%, all jumps in percentages from previous reports.
De Blasio also said 9,000 city employees are on leave without pay today, less than 6% of entire workforce of 378,000 - 12,000 have applied for religious or medical exemption.
De Blasio also commented on the FDNY's complaints of the nine-day notice saying there was more than enough time and incentive for workers to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
This news of vaccination rates comes after several fire companies temporarily closed, despite FDNY maintaining that no firehouses have fully shut down yet. Each of these firehouses has multiple companies.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro has spoken out against the firefighters who are currently going on sick leave and creating a potential increased danger to New Yorkers. While the mandate is being strongly backed by de Blasio, union members and some local politicians are saying that the testing option for those who are unvaccinated should be put back in place.