Videos: NYC Municipal Employees Protest Against Mandatory Vaccination Deadline

© REUTERS / MIKE SEGARA demonstrator uses a whistle during a protest by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) union members, municipal workers and others, against the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Manhattan's Upper East Side, in New York City, New York, U.S., October 28, 2021
A demonstrator uses a whistle during a protest by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) union members, municipal workers and others, against the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Manhattan's Upper East Side, in New York City, New York, U.S., October 28, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
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NYC police officers and firefighters, along with workers from the education and health departments, were all required to receive at least one vaccine dose by October 29. The measure, introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been met with stiff resistance.
On the eve of the vaccination deadline, thousands of NYC municipal employees gathered outside the mayor’s Gracie Mansion residence to protest mandatory jabs.
Protesters were seen carrying signs that said, "My body my choice" and "Coercion is not consent." They were also chanting “USA.”
Members of New York City Fire Department (FDNY) were among those who joined the demonstration.
According to media reports, some protesters threw trash onto the property of the residence “at the mayor's doorstep.”
Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York President Andrew Ansbro earlier said that union members are “still struggling” to agree on vaccinations. James McCarthy, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, also noted that the date should be postponed as it’s "not enough time to make a retirement decision if you are going to retire from this job."
Ansbro reportedly advised members of the union to ignore the mayor's decree if they opt to stay unvaccinated, as it is offensive to firefighters who risk their lives on a daily basis.

"I have told my members that if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," he said at a news conference, according to Reuters. "If they are told they cannot work, it will be the department and city of New York that sends them home. And it will be the department and the city of New York that has failed to protect the citizens of New York."

De Blasio said at a press briefing on Wednesday that his “job is to keep people safe, his employees, and 8.8 million people” who will not be safe until the coronavirus is defeated.
"If we don't stop COVID, New Yorkers will die. We must, must stop COVID and the way to do that is vaccination. And that must include our public employees," he stressed.
Responding to fears about a lack of municipal workers, he claimed that the authorities expected that workers would be vaccinated “toward the end of the deadline.”
On October 20, the New York City mayor ordered all municipal officials to provide vaccination certificates by 5:00 pm on October 29. The mayor said that staff would no longer be able to get regular tests in lieu of vaccinations, but added that the city would continue to provide medical and religious waivers.
Otherwise, workers would be sent on unpaid leave starting from this Monday for a 30-day period while their future employment is considered by the unions.
© REUTERS / JEENAH MOONUniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Andrew Ansbro speaks during a news conference regarding vaccine mandates in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 27, 2021
Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Andrew Ansbro speaks during a news conference regarding vaccine mandates in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 27, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Andrew Ansbro speaks during a news conference regarding vaccine mandates in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 27, 2021
The decision drew criticism from different categories of New York officials. Vaccination mandates in New York City and across the state have resulted in numerous lawsuits. However, in most of the cases, the courts were said to have sided with the authorities.
The city’s police union earlier attempted to challenge the mayor's decree in court, but a judge refused on Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order for the vaccine mandate.
The vaccination mandate has raised concerns about staff shortages. According to Ansbro, some 3,500 firefighters may be dismissed after the deadline, which is a "catastrophic manpower shortage."
So far, 86 percent of the 300,000 workers in New York City have already received at least one vaccine dose against coronavirus, according to the mayor. Among police officers, vaccination rates are around 76 percent. According to the FDNY, 65 percent of its members have received at least one vaccine dose.
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