2,300 NYC Firefighters Call Out as Vaccine Mandates Take Effect

2,300 NYC Firefighters Call Out as Vaccine Mandates Take Effect 2,300 NYC Firefighters Call Out as Vaccine Mandates Take Effect Several thousand New York City employees, mostly firefighters, and unvaccinated against COVID-19, march on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Tuesday, 02 November 2021 03:08 PM

Around 2,300 members of the New York City Fire Department called in sick on Monday after the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal employees took effect, CBS New York reports.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press briefing on Monday that “we have every reason to believe that there’s a lot of people out there claiming to be sick who are not. It’s not acceptable. The thing to do is to do the right thing. Come to work. Protect people — as you took an oath to do.”

He added, “The folks who are faking it are doing an immense disservice to the people of this city, and to their fellow members of service, and we will make sure there are consequences for that,” according to CBS.

The mayor went on to say that the city would be keeping watch for possible violations of the Taylor Law, which forbids public employees from going on strike in some situations.

“Whether these union leaders have now crossed a line, we are watching every single thing they say and do — every email, every tweet — we are watching everything,” de Blasio said. “If we see a violation of the Taylor Law, we will be in court immediately.”

FDNY union leaders hit back at the mayor, with Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro telling the New York Daily News that “they can look all they want. We’ve done nothing wrong. I would rather be hated for my truth than loved for my lies.”

James McCarthy, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, added to the newspaper that “the assertion that people are faking is incorrect.”

Official figures from the FDNY show that about 82% of the department’s employees are fully vaccinated, with 91% of civilian workers, 89% of EMS workers, and 78% of firefighters.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that while 18 units are out of service due to understaffing, no firehouses are.

“There are understaffed units, and that understaffing could end immediately if members stopped going sick when they weren’t,” Nigro said, according to CBS.