NEW SPRINGVILLE, Staten Island (WABC) -- Garbage is piling up in spots around New York City with 17% of sanitation workers still refusing to get vaccinated as mandates went into effect Monday.
A steady stream of trucks pulled into a sanitation garage on Staten Island.
On a good week, the city crews pick up roughly 12,000 tons of trash each day in residential areas. But this was a bad week.
Garbage piled up and the city admitted it did experience a "gap" in service as the clock ticked down to Monday's deadline to get a COVID vaccine.
That's exactly what it looked like in Gramercy Park Sunday evening, minutes before crews, who normally have the day off, scooped up the mess.
"We are continuing to make up for the backlogged service, we believe we will be day on day, meaning Monday material only at some point today," New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said.
To date, the Sanitation Department says 83% of its employees are vaccinated. Those who aren't vaccinated ... some of them gathered in protest outside of the same facility on Richmond Avenue where their coworkers are playing catch up.
"We're being forced to do something against our will," sanitation worker Michael Cancelleri said.
Michael has been on the job 17 years and for the first time is now on unpaid leave, along with thousands of other city employees who refuse to comply with the mandate.
"I'm scared I'm going to lose a job that I love more than anything, a job that puts food on our table, on my family's table," Cancelleri said.
There is support for these workers. Nancy Pilardi is in banking and insists she is not getting vaccinated.
"I'm a survivor of domestic violence and 8 years ago I took back my freedom to leave my abuser and they're not going to take my freedom of choice, I won't," Pilardi said.
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