NYC faces protests, public service shortages after judge denies mandate hearing

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


On Thursday, protestors gathered outside the home of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the latest in a series of signals that not all New Yorkers are on board with the city’s COVID-vaccine-related mandates. 

An estimated 9,000 marchers, most connected to the city’s firefighters union, protested at Gracie Mansion demanding the city relax its stance on vaccinations for its public service employees. Municipal workers had until Nov. 1 to either get vaccinated or be suspended without pay, and on Thursday a New York judge denied the police union’s request for a temporary restraining order. 

The New York Times reported that the city now faces a potential shortage of thousands of police, firefighters, and sanitation workers. Data from the different departments shows that one quarter of all police officers, and a third of all fire and sanitation workers in the city have not yet shown proof of vaccination.

“I am not having second thoughts,” de Blasio told the Times. “We expected that a lot of the vaccinations would happen toward the end of the deadline.”

A press release from the New York City Police Benevolent Association was far gloomier. 

“With less than 48 hours left until Mayor de Blasio’s arbitrary vaccination deadline for city workers — and following a state judge’s refusal to pause the deadline despite the mandate’s chaotic rollout — police union leaders are warning New Yorkers that the NYPD brass is completely unprepared for the staffing shortage that will result from the mandate’s haphazard implementation,” the release reads in part. 

According to the NYCPBA, about 10,000 officers remained unvaccinated and would not be permitted to report to work unless they were granted a religious or medical exemption. 

“The NYPD has yet to announce any detailed plans to address the possible staffing shortage, and it still hasn’t published its own policies to implement the mandate,” the release reads.

According to the Times, Andrew Ansbro, the head of New York’s Uniformed Firefighters Association, has told his workers to report for duty with or without a vaccination. This move would force New York officials to turn away firefighters, which would cast New York’s leaders in a negative light as they’d be placing lives at risk. 

The Times quotes Ansbro as saying, “It’s [de Blasio’s] choice to put the lives he’s entrusted with in jeopardy.”

Meanwhile, as sanitation workers have initiated a go-slow campaign, trash has begun piling up in the streets of New York. According to the New York Post, when Teamsters Local 831 President Harry Nespoli was asked “what’s going on” in regard to trash not being collected, he responded “The mandate’s going on.”

Importantly, the New York mayoral race, in which Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa will vie to replace the outgoing de Blasio, is slated for Nov. 2.