New York City Fires Nearly 1,500 Workers for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine: Mayor

New York City Fires Nearly 1,500 Workers for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine: Mayor
New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams speaks during a press conference in New York City on Dec. 15, 2021. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

New York Mayor Eric Adams announced on Monday that 1,430 public-sector workers in the city were fired for failing to meet a Feb. 11 deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

As many as 4,000 city workers were given notice in January to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. Three-quarters of those workers had already been on leave without pay for months, having missed an earlier deadline for getting vaccinated in order to stay on the job.

In a statement on Monday, the mayor suggested that the workers chose to leave their jobs by refusing to get vaccinated.

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

The 1,430 workers who were fired over their vaccination status make up less than 1 percent of the 370,000-person city workforce.

“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.

Some 64 percent of the fired workers were Department of Education employees. The city said 101 workers were fired 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.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal from a group of Department of Education employees.

New York City has imposed some of the most sweeping vaccine mandates in the country, requiring almost all city workers to be vaccinated and requiring private employers to ensure their workers get vaccinated as well. Customers of restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues also have to show proof of vaccine to enter.

The United Federation of Teachers had struck a deal with the city to allow its members to choose to stay on unpaid leave until September 5. But about 700 members opted not to extend their leave or provide proof of vaccine. The union contended that the workers deserved due process that involved a hearing before being fired.

Adams said in his statement on Monday that 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.

“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,” he added.

The Epoch Times has contacted the mayor’s office and the United Federation of Teachers for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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