The controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for New York City employees is soon to be tested by the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the city’s largest police union.
Details of Vaccine Mandate
The union is responding to the latest announcement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio requiring that all city workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to being placed on unpaid leave. In order to entice workers to comply with the mandate, the city is offering eligible individuals a $500 bonus if they get their first shot before October 29. The vaccine also has to be administered at sites operated by the city in order to qualify for the bonus.
The mayor said the deadline to get the first shot and remain in compliance is November 1. According to de Blasio, “My job as your mayor is to keep this city safe, keep this city healthy. And vaccination is the way.”
Prior to this new rule, city workers were mandated to be either vaccinated or be tested once per week. The new rule eliminates weekly testing as an option.
As of October 20, there were still over 45,000 workers who were not in compliance with the vaccine mandate.
The PBA represents the rank-and-file officers of the country’s largest police force. In response to de Blasio’s new mandate, the union said that it would work to protect its members’ rights through the use of legal action.
Prior to the latest New York City municipal workers mandate, the city had required that all public school teachers and staff be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. The city’s health care workers were also required to be fully vaccinated as a result of a state law put into place months ago.
PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement that the PBA has continued to fight “to make the vaccine available to every member who chooses it, while also protecting their right to make that personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor.”
Inside the Numbers
According to the latest numbers, almost 70% of the New York Police Department (NYPD) is fully vaccinated. However, over 60 NYPD have died from complications of the virus.
In addition, the New York Fire Department has reported 16 deaths within its ranks as a result of the virus. The FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York (UFA) also stated that it would fight for the right of its members to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. While the union said that they are pro-vaccine, they also said that they were pro-choice when it comes to the debate over vaccine mandates.
According to UFA President Andrew Ansbro, 55% of its members are fully vaccinated with an additional 75% reporting a past bout with the virus. Ansbro said that these numbers put them at herd immunity as a group.
Both Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro are in support of the vaccine mandates.