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NYC Mayor Terminates 1,430 Employees Over Vaccine Refusal

Published: February 17, 2022
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of USCM on January 20, 2022, in Washington, DC. Adams announced on Monday that 1,430 public-sector workers in the city were fired because they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 14.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of USCM on January 20, 2022, in Washington, DC. Adams announced on Monday that 1,430 public-sector workers in the city were fired because they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 14. (Image: ALEX WONG via Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the dismissal of 1,430 municipal workers on Feb. 14 because they failed to comply with the citywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Four thousand city workers received the ultimatum in January: get their experimental COVID-19 vaccine before Feb. 11 or be fired. 

“Our goal was always to vaccinate, not terminate, and city workers stepped up and met the goal placed before them,”  Adams said in a statement on Monday.

Three thousand employees have already been on unpaid leave since October when the mandate took effect under former Mayor Bill de Blasio. The remaining 1,000 workers were newly hired and failed to show proof of having received their second shot.

“City workers served on the front lines during the pandemic, and by getting vaccinated, they are, once again, showing how they are willing to do the right thing to protect themselves and all New Yorkers,” Adams added.

In total, 1,430 workers were terminated, less than one percent of the 370,000-person workforce in New York.

Adams also added that out of the second group of approximately one thousand newly hired employees, only two hadn’t submitted documentation of their second dose and were consequently laid off.

“Out of all the new city employees who received notices two weeks ago, only two who worked last week are no longer employed by the city,” Adams said. “I’m grateful to all the city workers who continue to serve New Yorkers and ‘Get Stuff Done’ for the greatest city in the world.”

Different agencies affected

Sixty-four percent or 914 staffers were working with the Department of Education (DOE), which is considerably more than any other agency in the city. 

There were 101 people from the New York City Housing Authority, 75 from the Department of Correction, 40 from the Department of Sanitation, and 36 from the New York Police Department who were fired for not complying with the city’s mandate.

General vaccine mandate pushback

Of the 13,044 employees who filed for religious or medical exemption from the experimental vaccine mandates, 7,030 cases have been decided on.

From the 7,030 waiver requests, 70 percent, or 4,919 cases, were approved; 2,118 were denied. Rejected applicants still have the right to appeal.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a November lawsuit from a group of Department of Education employees. They contended that the vaccination mandate infringed on religious freedom.

Mayor Adams has become increasingly under fire for his vaccination mandate. More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against the City Hall after a week of protests from municipal workers groups. 

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The protesting organizations included the Police Benevolent Association, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

The municipality workers have been on leave without pay since November. The City Hall accused them of taking jobs away from vaccine-compliant candidates.

“They have not been teaching in schools, patrolling our streets, or maintaining our parks — yet they have been taking salary lines away from agencies and stopping the city from hiring individuals who are willing to do the jobs New Yorkers need them to do,” the announcement stated.

“Workers should not get fired. There are a lot of people who don’t believe in putting this stuff in their bodies,” Harry Nespoli told the New York Post. Nespoli is the president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association and head of the Municipal Labor Council.