Thousands of NYC union members in anti mandate protest

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28 Oct 2021, 5:50 pm

FDNY Unions Protest Vaccine Mandate For NYC Workers, First Responders: ‘We Currently Have A Staffing Shortage As It Is’

New York City workers face an ultimatum Friday: Get vaccinated or be placed on unpaid leave.

Thousands of them protested the vaccine mandate Thursday in front of the mayor’s home.

With the clock ticking down to Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, many called the rally their “last stand.”

“This is really an absolutely unnecessary threat to the lives of New Yorkers,” said Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Fire Fighters Association. “There is no crisis. Right now, 8% of New York City firefighters are out with fire-related injuries, and one-sixteenth of that number is out with COVID.”

“We worked through this pandemic over a year. We worked!” Firefighter Jackie Michelle Martinez said.

‘We are not anti-vaccine. We are here because we are pro-choice,” Martinez said.

The city says it’s ready to show the door to 3,500 FDNY members if they don’t get the shot before Friday. A high-ranking FDNY source told CBS2 as many as 20% of fire companies could close, and the department’s ambulance fleet may be impacted as well.

Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the mandate Thursday, saying the FDNY commissioner has a contingency plan.

McCarthy argued 70% of members have already been infected and have natural immunity, so they don’t need to be vaccinated. However, the mayor and city’s health commissioner said that’s not good enough.

“The strength and the duration of that immunity remains unknown,” said Dr. Dave Chokshi.

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