Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is requiring all municipal employees to get vaccinated, eliminating the testing option for unvaccinated members of the city workforce.
Workers must get their first shot by Friday, October 29.
Starting Wednesday, city employees will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck for receiving their first shot at a city-run vaccination site. This benefit will end at 5 p.m. on the deadline day.
Employees who do not get vaccinated will be placed on unpaid leave, and their future employment will be resolved in ensuing negotiations with individual labor unions.
Correction officers will face a later deadline of December 1.
"We said we're not firing people on the spot, we're saying in plans we came up with other unions, we said please get vaccinated by the deadline," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "If you do you continue with your work. If you don't you're going to leave without pay."
De Blasio said he believes unvaccinated workers will rush to get a shot when they have a deadline. He said that's what happened with both teachers and health care workers.
WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio announces vaccine mandate for all municipal workers
Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will sign a Commissioner's Order on Wednesday to formalize the mandate, which will immediately apply to approximately 160,500 City workers.
About 71% of employees have at least one shot, with the number shooting up to 95% in the 11 city run hospitals, and 96% in schools, where vaccinations are mandatory.
The new mandate is effective on November 1 to the entire municipal workforce, including all NYPD, FDNY, and DSNY employees.
"We certainly expect pushback, the unions have stated there will be some pushback," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. "I think our members have taken an oath of office to serve the public. They have bravely done that for 156 years. They've done it through the pandemic and I think they'll step up and do it now."
About 69% of NYPD employees and 60% of FDNY workers are vaccinated. The PBA has previously said, "vaccine is a medical decision that members must make in consultation with their own health care providers."
"There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe," Mayor de Blasio said. "We have led the way against COVID-19 - from fighting for the right to vaccinate frontline workers, to providing nation-leading incentives, to creating the Key to NYC mandate. As we continue our recovery for all of us, city workers have been a daily inspiration. Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all."
The city will begin impact bargaining with affected unions immediately, though several are vowing to fight the mandate.
"From the beginning of the de Blasio administration's haphazard vaccine rollout, we have fought to make the vaccine available to every member who chooses it, while also protecting their right to make that personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor," PBA President Pat Lynch said. "Now that the city has moved to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will proceed with legal action to protect our members' rights."
COBA President Benny Boscio Jr. also spoke out against the mandate.
"Throughout the pandemic, COBA fought vigorously to provide our members with PPE, free COVID-19 testing and access to the vaccines if our members wished to be vaccinated," he said. "That being said, we have also maintained that our members deserve the right to free choice with respect to the vaccine. Given the severity of the ongoing staffing crisis that continues to force our members to work triple and quadruple shifts without meals and rest, it makes no sense to impose a mandate that could result in officers losing their jobs. Less staff will only further exacerbate this crisis. In fact, we have already lost well over 500 officers since January due to resignations and retirements with resignations far out-pacing retirements. Instead, the city should deliver on the public pledge it made months ago to hire at least 600 new correction officers by the end of October. To date, only 64 officers have been hired. This only reaffirms why the city needs to double its efforts and follow through on hiring a minimum of 600 officers immediately in order to mitigate this crisis, which will still be insufficient. Additionally, we find it extremely hypocritical to impose a vaccine mandate on our officers, yet there is no mandate for the inmates in our custody to be vaccinated nor the visitors who come in and out of our jails every single day."
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