U.S.: Police and Fire departments “across the country”, along with “city workers”.
The PBA filed its lawsuit on the same day as thousands of city workers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the vaccine mandate. Union opposition to these obligations, especially in city police departments, has been growing across the country and increasing in fervor. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles county sheriff said he would not enforce the mandate in his department. In Washington State, 1,785 state workers reportedly left or were fired for not complying with the vaccine mandate. . . .
October 31st News:
More than 2,000 New York City firefighters have taken medical leave in the past week as unvaccinated municipal workers face the start of sanctions Monday.
Frank Dwyer, deputy commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, said by email that the number of firefighters on medical leave was “very unusual.” The department employs roughly 11,000 firefighters.
Some first responders in the U.S. have been relatively resistant to employers’ Covid-19 vaccination mandates, with some saying they would rather lose their jobs than lose their sense of freedom over having to be inoculated.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro suggested in a statement Sunday that firefighters who participated in the apparent sickout were neglecting their oaths, which commit them to “faithfully discharge the duties” of their jobs. Those who do not meet the vaccination requirement have been threatened with unpaid leave starting Monday.
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters,” Nigro said. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”
© Mike Segar Image: Union firefighters and others protest against mandated vaccines in New York City (Mike Segar / Reuters)
Nigro, however, refuted news reports and politicians’ claims that the staffing challenge has forced the department to close a number of firehouses. U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-New York, said in a statement Saturday that 26 city fire stations have closed.
“The department has not closed any firehouses,” Nigro said.
The department said fire companies — groups of firefighters composed of specialized teams — open and close regularly but might face more closures than usual. The FDNY was prepared to shut down 20 percent of them while deploying private emergency medical response services to help out, it said.
Malliotakis said New Yorkers were being left without a safety net as the city and its firefighters stand off over the mandate.