Curt Flewelling, FISM News
On Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city is lifting its controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers. The policy currently states that city employees and those seeking employment with the city must be vaccinated.
Starting Friday, the city will make vaccination optional for current and prospective civil servants. The mayor touted the success of the mandate in a public statement saying, “The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers has helped keep New Yorkers safe and New York City running throughout the pandemic.”
Although many NYC workers welcome the news, many who have represented them over the years are asserting that there is still work to be done. Many city workers who were fired for not complying with the mandate are outraged that they will not be automatically reinstated to their former positions with back pay.
Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Pat Lynch said, “We are glad that the city has decided to stop fighting against our court victory overturning this unjust and illogical mandate, however, the job is only half done.”
The victory that Lynch alluded to was issued by Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio who declared, “The city’s policy was enacted ‘illegally’ and workers who were fired for refusing to comply must be ‘immediately reinstated’ with back pay.”
The city has appealed the ruling because if the decision stands, it will likely spark a flurry of litigation costing the city several hundred million dollars. Attorney James Mermigis agrees with many that this is far from over.
“I want to say that New York City and Eric Adams have seriously violated New York City Human Rights Law,” Mermigis told the Washington Examiner. The renowned “anti-shutdown lawyer” has successfully represented hundreds of disgruntled workers adversely affected by pandemic-related measures.
The legality of such mandates has been challenged throughout the country since the start of the pandemic. The courts have routinely sided with disaffected workers. In light of these legal precedents, many states have long since dropped their vaccine mandates.
Democrat-led NYC has been very slow to change the policy and even now is reluctant to summarily reinstate aggrieved workers. Additionally, the city has been quite clear that fired workers will not be receiving back pay.
“The lifting of the city’s vaccine mandate is the ‘beginning of righting a wrong,’” New York City Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said. “Now in a crime-weary city that needs detectives, our union members must be returned to their earned rank in the unit that they were assigned to before being forced out and receive all owed back pay.”