On Monday, around 2,300 New York City firefighters called in sick as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration placed thousands of city employees on unpaid leaves after they refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
NYC’s city workers, including the first responders, had until 5 pm on Friday to provide proof that they have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. In total, the city placed around 9,000 workers on unpaid leave. Meanwhile, 12,000 more are waiting to see if the city will approve their filing for exemption. However, de Blasio said their approval will not likely happen.
Around 2,300 NYC firefighters, which make up a significant portion of the city’s 11,000 uniformed workers employed by the Fire Department, called out sick.
While claiming that he loves and respects first responders, de Blasio also criticized workers who called out.
“We have every reason to believe we have a lot of people out there claiming they are sick when they are not,” de Blasio stated, describing it as “unacceptable” and saying that the city will not tolerate it.
“In the end when people do this kind of thing there are consequences,” he added before continuing his lecture aimed at first respondents who are opposing his edicts. continuing to lecture first responders who are standing up to his edicts.
De Blasio then said that “It’s time to recognize this is the law. Get back to work protecting the people of this city.” However, he continued to ignore the concerns of these first responders who felt concerned about being forced to get the jab that would inject something they felt uncomfortable with for a variety of reasons.
According to Commissioner Daniel Nigro, the number of medical leaves “spiked up” since the issuance of the mandates.
“The majority of them are unvaccinated. This is completely unacceptable,” he said, further stating that firefighters who are still at work had to pick up extra shifts to keep things moving.
“Thanks to those stepping up to fill spots, our department is functioning quite well,” Nigro then claimed.
Per an NBC New York report, the leader of the firefighters union denied that they staged a coordinated sick-out. UFA President Andrew Ansborow stated that “no one on this board would condone anyone using medical leave fraudulently.”
Around one-fifth of the FDNY workforce have either taken up unpaid leave or are looking for the approval of an exemption from the mandate.
Last month, before enforcing the said mandates, de Blasio said that he preferred to “respect people’s intelligence before he would force them to take the jab. Clearly, this is a position he no longer holds as thousands of city employees are still on unpaid leave.