But many continue to back down and refuse to do so, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported.
A few hundred tired city workers protested the city’s mandate to vaccinate Staten Island on Sunday. With them were their union representatives and some elected officials.
“We have been here every day of the pandemic and we will still be there on November 1. It will be the mayor who separates you from the residents of New York and what happens to them will be for him, not for us. “Said Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio doubles the mandate of vaccinating municipal workers: “We have emergency plans in place”
Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said 160,000 city workers were to have at least one injection by October 29 or go on unpaid leave.
Ansbro said 45% of its members are unvaccinated and predicted that fire stations could close if the mandate is upheld.
“It’s going to be brutal. I estimate that between 25 and 35% of fire stations could close. This mandate is an unfair way to end this pandemic. It’s a public health crisis, but you have to negotiate the terms of this with the unions. “
UFA and other unions want weekly testing to remain an option and for the city to recognize a theory that workers who have had COVID-19 may be immune to the disease.
READ MORE: Union leaders: NYC may face dramatic cut in services if first responders are forced to comply with vaccination mandate
The Centers for Disease Control said it was not clear how long protection could last.
Meanwhile, the city is standing still, saying 71% of those affected by this mandate already have at least one dose and that the vaccine is the best way to protect residents.
The mayor said the city has a contingency plan in place to ensure services are not interrupted. This includes the use of overtime if staff shortages become a problem.
In addition, CDC director Rochelle Walensky supports the campaign to impose vaccines on the police.
“What we know about the police force is that there have been more deaths from the coronavirus in the past year and a half than all the other causes of death for this workforce combined, we believe. therefore it is very important to vaccinate these people, ”he added. said Walensky.
But many longtime firefighters, like Julian Eyre, say whether or not to get the vaccine should be a personal choice.
“There weren’t enough tests. It hasn’t been long enough to say it’s perfectly safe, ”Eyre said. “I will go on Friday morning to fill out my papers to retire. It is overwhelming. I like what I do. I love going to work. I love my work. “
Others say municipal workers feel betrayed by the ultimatum since they have spent the entire pandemic on the front lines.
“We’re just here to help the community. We are not anti-vax, but we are anti-mandate. It should not be disclosed. Your personal medical records shouldn’t have to be disclosed, ”said Brooklyn firefighter Michael Sapia.
Many unions representing workers in the city say they plan to sue.
Only 50% of EMS workers are currently vaccinated, 55% firefighters, 71% cops and 51% correctional officers.
Kiran Dhillon of CBS2 contributed to this report. This story first appeared on October 24, 2021.