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Unvaccinated NYC firefighters put public at risk

Media Contact

Abby Butler

Enforcement of New York City’s vaccine mandate for uniformed service providers begins today, after Mayor Bill De Blasio ordered the city's 50,000 uniformed services workers to have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by late Friday afternoon. 

Lee Adler

Senior Extension Associate, Labor and Unions

Lee Adler is an expert on union issues at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Adler says the city’s uniformed service providers are potentially risking reputational damage and the high number of unvaccinated firefighters will likely result in service limitations. 

Adler says: 

“Though the percentages of vaccinated firefighters and police grew considerably as the deadline for NYC public sector workers to be vaccinated became a reality, there is still much trouble afoot. Enough firefighters remain unvaccinated to cause the city to likely shutter or severely limit the proper running of a number of stations, unless re-deployment and overtime efforts succeed. Thousands of police and fire department members have called in sick, further impairing the city’s ability to protect her citizenry. 

“Union leaders of the uniformed personnel have either sued the city to halt the mandate or asked for more time to comply. One wonders what the public thinks about these developments and one wonders whether the reputations of the city’s uniformed service providers will be negatively impacted by these occurrences.”

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