NYC firefighters union opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandate evolves into political attack on de Blasio

It’s not in regards to the vaccine; it’s in regards to the mayor.

That’s the message the Uniformed Firefighters Affiliation appears to be sending the general public on the second day that New York Metropolis’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate was enforced Tuesday, with unvaccinated smoke-eaters informed to dwelling with out pay till they adjust to it.

The union now factors the finger of blame squarely at outgoing Mayor Invoice de Blasio, accusing hizzoner of “rushing a mandate without thought or planning.” Though de Blasio introduced the Nov. 1 vaccine mandate 9 days earlier than it took impact, each he and Fireplace Commissioner Dan Nigro identified Monday that the vaccine had been made out there to firefighters practically a yr in the past.

“This isn’t about the vaccine. This is about @NYCMayor de Blasio rushing a mandate without thought or planning,” in accordance to a UFA assertion. “We have members that are ready to retire, we want them to have the time to make a dignified exit from a career risking their lives for the citizens and city of New York.”

The Fireplace Division reported that about 2,300 firefighters have been out on sick go away over the previous week. Whereas 18 corporations had been out of service in some unspecified time in the future Monday due to staffing shortages, the Fireplace Division identified that quantity has fluctuated at completely different factors of the day relying on out there staffing.

That complication, nevertheless, has not resulted in increased response occasions, a Fireplace Division supply informed amNewYork Metro. 

“When a company goes out of service, the Department moves resources into that firehouse or response area to ensure coverage for emergencies,” the supply mentioned. “Response times have not gone up. Despite this current situation, the Commissioner has directly commented on, the department continues to get to every emergency call that comes in for help.”

Although the union has repeatedly mentioned that the unvaccinated firefighters had “lost their jobs,” the very fact stays that the unvaccinated firefighters aren’t terminated, however somewhat positioned on unpaid go away till they adjust to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate — which suggests they have to get no less than the primary dose. 

But, judging by the excessive quantity of firefighters on sick go away, it appeared to de Blasio that unvaccinated smoke-eaters are utilizing their sick go away advantages as a manner to dodge the mandate and nonetheless receives a commission.

“And by the way we’ve got some firefighters who are faking sick leave the last couple of days, saying they’re sick when they’re not, and leaving their fellow firefighters in a lurch and creating a danger for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio, who’s mulling a bid for governor subsequent yr, mentioned throughout an look Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That is unconscionable, and I assure you, they’re going to experience some consequences for what they’ve done.”

Nigro backed the mayor up in an announcement.

“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters,” Nigro mentioned. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”

After he voted within the mayoral election in Brooklyn later Tuesday, de Blasio additionally criticized the hearth unions for persevering with to resist the mandate, and failing to be sure that all of their members are vaccinated and again on the job.

“What the fire unions should be doing is what the other unions are doing which is saying ‘we didn’t agree with it, we fought it in court, we lost fair and square, now everyone go get vaccinated,” he mentioned. “The fire union is doing a disservice to their members and this city by discouraging vaccination … thats’s just unacceptable.”

UFA President Andrew Ansbro, nevertheless, argued that the current remarks of the mayor, and Commissioner Nigro, solely proved the union’s stance.

“By the commissioners own admission, the majority of members on sick leave are unvaccinated. They would not be working because they were sent home by @NYCMayor de Blasio’s dangerous mandate,” Ansbro mentioned in an announcement shared on the UFA’s Twitter web page. “You can’t have it both ways. This crisis is clearly on the Mayor.”

Not all metropolis workers noticed it that manner.

The town reported that 92% of the whole municipal workforce has complied with the COVID-19 mandate, with 1000’s of staff getting the primary dose of the vaccine within the days main up to the Nov. 1 deadline. Those that obtained the shot between Oct. 20 and 29 additionally obtained a $500 bonus of their paychecks. 

With reporting by Ben Verde

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