Thousands of Workers in NYC to Be Fired as COVID-19 Vaccine Deadline Ends

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 11, 2022New York
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Thousands of Workers in NYC to Be Fired as COVID-19 Vaccine Deadline Ends
City workers gather to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions in New York City on Feb. 7, 2022. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

New York City is set to fire nearly 4,000 unvaccinated municipal workers who failed to comply with the city’s harsh COVID-19 vaccine rules that required employees to get jabbed by Feb. 11 or face termination.

Eric Adams, who took office in January, confirmed this week that he will go ahead with then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate that ordered all public and private sector workers in the city to get the shot or lose their jobs. The order is one of the most sweeping CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic policies in the nation.

“We have to be very clear—people must be vaccinated if they are New York City employees. Everyone understood that,” Adams said. “We don’t want to terminate anyone. We want people to be vaccinated and employed so that our economy continues to open.”

Adams, a Democrat, faced a swell of protests from workers who expressed frustration over the order, organizing large demonstrations to voice their concerns. A march to the City Hall is planned for Friday, The New York Post reported.

Eric Adams
New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams at a press conference in the Queens borough of New York on Dec. 15, 2021. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

There were up to 4,000 workers who had failed to comply with the mayor’s order by the end of January, according to City Hall, but that number might have dropped after city officials said last week that they would face termination if they fail to comply with the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rule.

New York City has a rough total of 370,000 municipal employees—which includes teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Firefighters, medics, and EMTs formed a grassroots pro-choice group called Bravest for Choice in an attempt to have the city back down on the mandates.

Matt Connor, a member of the group, previously told The Epoch Times that the organization “believes every person has the right to make his or her own informed choice” in relation to medical decisions.

The group’s union representatives previously said during a press conference in early November that they have been understaffed for a long time, and many were already overworked.

Connor told The Epoch Times that the group is “gravely concerned” about the situation and that if the city denies the “thousands of requests and appeals for reasonable accommodations” and terminates the applicants, there will likely be “severe impacts to public health and safety.

“For example, in the case of the FDNY, ‘New York’s Bravest,’ terminations will exacerbate an existing staffing shortage that has been further impacted by a sustained elevation in medical leave due to illness and injury during the past several months following the mandated vaccination program.”

NTD Photo
Municipal workers hold placards and shout slogans as they march across Brooklyn Bridge during a protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, in New York on Oct. 25, 2021. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)
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Protesters rally against vaccine mandates in New York City on Nov. 20, 2021. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

He noted that a lack of manpower will mean more need for overtime staffing, and the COVID-19 vaccine mandate “has disastrous potential to overtax an already stressed workforce.”

City officials said they won’t know exactly how many workers will get fired until after the Feb. 11 deadline passes. For most workers, that’s the end of their Friday workday.

The United Federation of Teachers, which represents New York City public school teachers, had negotiated with the city school district to allow members to choose to stay on unpaid leave until Sept. 5, but the union said 700 of its members who have been on unpaid leave for months opted not to extend their leave or provide proof of vaccine and had been notified they’d be fired.

Enrico Trigoso and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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