By Jessica Easthope
The verdict is in, all New York City workers must get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Major labor unions put out dueling statements in the aftermath of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement.
Most notably, District 37, the largest employee union in New York City was concerned they weren’t invited to the table ahead of the mayor’s announcement.
In a statement the District 37 leader Henry Garrido said, “While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure our members’ health and wellbeing, weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining. New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Education was largely supportive of the plan, despite not receiving a heads up.
The United Federation of Teachers released a statement saying, “This approach puts the emphasis on vaccination but still allows for personal choice and provides additional safeguards through regular testing.”
Currents News hasn’t received a response from any of the NYPD unions yet, but the FDNY EMS workers slammed the move, noting that the FDA still hasn’t given any final approvals for COVID-19 vaccines.
Local teachers and their families were also divided on the issue. “I feel like it should be the same as a religious freedom, that you choose your own faith and what you believe in,” said Christine Hooper, the parent of public-school student.
“It’s not like you have freedom to say and do what you want, not in a pandemic, we need vaccines and if not you need to be tested weekly,” said Robert Kleppel, a DOE science teacher for 39 years.
The mandate will affect more than 300,000 people and go into effect on September 13 for the start of the school year.