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New York City Puts 9,000 Unvaccinated Employees on Unpaid Leave

Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that unvaccinated municipal workers will be suspended without pay following a new vaccine mandate. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that 9,000 municipal workers have been put on unpaid leave after refusing to comply with the city’s new vaccine mandate.

The mandate, which went into effect on Monday, requires municipal workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, without the option for weekly testing. De Blasio said that the 9,000 unvaccinated employees represent 9% of the city’s municipal workers.

A total of 12,000 other unvaccinated workers have applied for a medical or religious exemption from the mandate and will be given a decision on their claim “in the coming days,” according to de Blasio. They are allowed to work while their cases are open.

Employees were required to get at least their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by last Friday at 5 pm in order to qualify for a $500 bonus. But the city reported that more than 3,500 workers went for their shot on Saturday and Sunday.

“Anyone who hasn’t so far, there’s still a chance to fix it: come in, get vaccinated, come back to work, because we need everyone to do their job, and we need everyone to be safe,” the mayor said. “We know more people will get vaccinated.”

Some groups of New York City municipal workers have voiced resistance to the mandate, especially the city’s firefighters. But de Blasio has held strong in his determination to get employees to comply with the mandate, refusing to close any firehouses or other branches that have an issue with the vaccine.

The mayor claimed that disgruntled workers are falsely claiming to be sick in order to evade work en masse. “It’s not acceptable,” de Blasio said. “The thing to do is to do the right thing: come to work, protect people as you took an oath to do. And look, this is something that we don’t tolerate. In the end, when people do this kind of thing there are consequences.”

Biden administration readies vaccine mandate for companies with over 100 employees

President Joe Biden announced in a brief address on October 14 that his vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 workers will go into effect soon.

The mandate requires employers that meet the requirements to ensure that their employees are either vaccinated against Covid-19 or get tested regularly.

“The Labor Department is soon going to be issuing an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements among their employees,” Biden said in his address.

“Every day, you see more businesses implement vaccine requirements and the mounting data shows that they work,” Biden stated.

The mandate, which will impact roughly 80 million American employees, has been highly controversial, inspiring threats of lawsuits from Republican attorneys general and causing some people to leave their jobs completely.

Biden first announced the mandate early last month.


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