Sunday, December 4

City Reaches Vaccine Mandate Waiver Agreement With Employees But Not With NYPD or FDNY

The City reached an agreement on a COVID vaccination mandate with official employees, but not with the NYPD or Fire Department

Photo: Edwin Martínez / Impremedia

The mandate of vaccination against COVID-19 for thousands of official New York City employees, imposed by the Blasio Administration, has served so that the numbers of immunized workers have increased, but at the same time it has caused strong friction and blister with sectors that continue to defend the freedom of each employee to opt for the vaccine or not and criticized that they are prevented from returning to their positions to who do not have an immunization certificate.

And amid the tense environment that these measures have caused, the sun seems to be rising on the horizon for the Municipal Administration and workers, after nine of the most important official unions in the Big Apple, that group about 88,000 employees, reached an agreement with the City.

Among the most outstanding agreements are the one that will be taken into account immunization exemption requests and licensing policies to be discussed.

Thus, those employees who have requested to be exempted from the mandate to be vaccinated for medical reasons or religious duly endorsed, they will be able to present their discharges and then they will receive a decision directly from the agency for which they work, without losing their jobs. Even if their vaccine exemption requests are denied, they may appeal to an arbitration process or to an internal City panel.

The biggest advance occurred with four unions, representing 75,000 municipal employees, but others that group the rest of the City’s 160,000 workers, such as the NYPD and the Fire Department, had no progress with the Blasio Administration.

As part of the agreement, the unions withdrew the lawsuit filed in October against the City asking that the mandate be prevented from being implemented.

DC 37, Teamsters Local 237, Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 y SEIU Local 300were some of the groups that negotiated the agreement with the City.

Despite protests and demonstrations by municipal employees who refuse to make their vaccination status a requirement to keep their jobs, Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to defend the implementation of the vaccine mandate and assured that this has achieved that the figures of vaccinated continue to grow.

The latest figures presented by the City indicate that cabout 92% of the 160,000 workers that make up the workload of the different agencies and entities of the Municipal Administration are already vaccinated, including 96% of school workers, 90% of EMS emergency services, 79% of firefighters, 85% of sanitation workers and 85% of NYPD police employees. In the case of workers at the City’s 7th correctional facility, where vaccines have not yet been issued, 63% are vaccinated.

“Vaccines are critical to our recovery and our City workforce is leading the way … 92% of City employees have stepped up and been vaccinated, and this agreement ensures a fair process for those seeking exemptions.” said Mayor De Blasio on the exemption agreement reached with the unions. “Thank you to these unions for working with us to keep New Yorkers safe.”

Thanks to the agreement, those municipal workers of the official unions who submitted applications for exemptions to the vaccine before November 2 they will be able to continue in their jobs with the requirement for weekly negative COVID tests until their agencies issue a response or finalize their appeal processes.

In the case of workers who requested the exemption to the vaccine after November 3 and until November 5, they will be able to remain at their jobs with weekly negative COVID tests, until the agency issues a response. But if your exemption is not approved and you go to appeals, you will not be able to continue in your employment until a final response is issued, which must wait under unpaid leave, even with health benefits until June 30, 2022, if they decide not continue with your work.

Vaccination among NYC Official Employees in Numbers

  • 160,000 are the municipal employees of the Big Apple
  • 88,000 employees are part of the 9 unions that reached the agreement
  • 75,000 workers make up the four largest unions
  • 9 unions reached the agreement
  • 92% of municipal workers are already vaccinated
  • 96% of school workers already have the vaccine
  • 90% of EMS emergency services employees are vaccinated
  • 79% of firefighters are vaccinated
  • 85% of sanitation workers are vaccinated
  • 85% of NYPD employees are vaccinated
  • 63% of prison employees are vaccinated

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