Following a decision last month by New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s to exempt pro athletes and other performers from the city’s vaccine mandate a bipartisan group of council members are poised to formally demand that Adams rehires some 1,430 municipal employees terminated for refusing to be vaccinated..
At a meeting scheduled for April 14, Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, is expected to introduce a nonbinding resolution calling on Adams to rehire workers fired in February for failing to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccination. The resolution also goes as far as to demand that private businesses rehire employees who were fired for failing to be inoculated against COVID-19.
Borelli, told the New York Post that he believes that Council “must deliver an apolitical message” that Adam’s decision to exempt pro athletes and other performers was unfair because rank-and-file workers remain unemployed under the same rules.
“There has to be equity,” Borelli said, adding that, “If we’re willing to tolerate risks for athletes and performers, we must tolerate the same risks for all members of our workforce – be it the private sector or public.”
Two other Council members who are backing Borelli’s resolution are Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn) and David Carr (R-Staten Island).
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It appears that Adams granted the exemption after lobbying by the Brooklyn Nets, Mets and Yakjees.
“The teams lobbied for the change, saying it was unfair that rules Adams inherited from former Mayor Bill de Blasio allowed unvaccinated visiting athletes to play in city venues, but Nets star Kyrie Irving and other city-based unvaccinated athletes couldn’t play home games,” the New York Post reported.
Paul DiGiacamo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, supports Borelli’s proposed legislation saying that he hopes it will convince Adams to rehire the union’s unvaccinated investigators.
“Any detective who left took years of experience with [them]. The city is in crisis. We need to bring back the detectives,” he said.
Should the resolution not be passed, thousands of New York city workers could be fired in the coming weeks and months as thousands of workers who have applied for medical or religious exemptions from the mandate have yet to receive a decision.
According to the New York Post, Adams and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) said their offices need to review the proposed legislation before making any comment.
However, Adrienne Adams, in a statement issued on March 24 said the mayor’s exemption “sends the wrong message that higher-paid workers and celebrities are being valued as more important than our devoted civil servants.”
In the statement she expressed concern “about the process, rationale and inequity in [the] decision to exempt professional athletes and performers from the City’s private employee vaccine requirement when over 1,400 city government workers, many of whom served bravely on the frontlines during the pandemic, were fired from their jobs for not getting vaccinated.”