Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

STATE OF ICELAND, NY-Half-empty firehouses, fewer emergency centers and diluted city services could threaten New York City’s structure, say representatives speaking for thousands of workers arriving on Friday either need the first dose of coronavirus (COVID) 19) vaccine or placed on unpaid leave.

On Sunday, hundreds of worried workers gathered in Charleston, outside Millie’s on Staten Island in the Bricktown Center, including elected officials, union representatives and friends and relatives of city employees. Their message was simple: Give us a choice, not Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mayoral vaccine mandate.

“I’m out here to support my husband,” said Susan, who refused to give her last name to the wife of an urban sanitation department. “I believe in ‘My body, my choice’. I stand by the people who kept this city running during the whole pandemic. I am here not only for him but also for the nurses. My sister was a nurse and she lost her job. ”

Rally against NYC vaccination mandate for all city workers

Susan attended the convention in support of her husband, who works for the Department of Sanitation. A rally against the vaccine mandate was held for all New York workers who require the first dose by October 29. The convention was held outside Millie’s on Staten Island, Charleston. Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Staten Island Advance / Annalize Knudson)

City staff have had the choice of being vaccinated or tested for the virus weekly, but when Friday, October 29 – the mandate deadline – hits, the test opportunity will be eliminated.

“We are anti-mandate,” said Eric Bischoff, FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association’s Staten Island Trustee. “We do not want our members to be forced to get a vaccination that they do not want and that we do not think they need. It’s about an anti – mandate … We must stick together and fight this mandate, and hopefully, please, Mayor de Blasio, listen to us, work with us, talk to us, understand where we come from. We are not opponents, we want to serve this city. Work with us … This mandate is not acceptable to any union in New York City. ”

Rally against NYC vaccination mandate for all city workers

Eric Bischoff, FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association’s Staten Island Trustee, speaks at the convention. Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Staten Island Advance / Annalize Knudson)

3,500 FIREFIGHTERS ARE UVACCINATED

Robert Eustace, vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), reiterated that the union is not anti-vaccine, but anti-mandate.

“Twenty years after 9/11, we are here. We were the canaries again and we are thrown out like the trash. It’s just incredible, ”he said. “We are sitting here 20 months after the start of the pandemic, everyone was sitting at home in fear. Some people may have heard me say, still to this moment, to this minute, that we have not yet extinguished a fire via Zoom. We have not yet performed CPR via Zoom. ”

Andrew Ansbro, chairman of UFA, said there are 3,500 urban firefighters currently vaccinated, representing about 45% of the workforce. He asked his members to go to work as usual when the mandate takes effect, and “let the mayor send you home.”

“What happens will be on him. We have known for the last few months that it has been difficult to keep the firehouses open. Members who work more than two trips, not knowing when to go home. This is not only happening in the fire department, we have also all heard about the prisons. They do not have enough bodies to keep the job in operation, ”said Ansbro.

A sea of ​​Staten Island firefighters, both active and retired, were among several fire trucks in the parking lot outside Millies during the convention. A member of the FDNY said many island firefighters have not been vaccinated, and as several city fire houses are already understaffed, the shortage due to the mandate could “cause serious labor problems.”

“He’s going to send a lot of firefighters home that morning who have not been vaccinated. Many companies on Staten Island will not be able to operate, ”he said.

He called the mandate “very disturbing” as he and his fellow firefighters worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic during hurricanes, as well as the recent damage caused by Hurricane Ida and more.

“I’m going to have to retire,” he said.

Rally against NYC vaccination mandate for all city workers

A rally against the vaccine mandate was held for all New York workers who require the first dose by October 29. The convention was held outside Millie’s on Staten Island, Charleston. Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Staten Island Advance / Annalize Knudson)

SHORT THROUGH THE CITY

FDNY is not alone in facing potential cuts in the workforce because of the mandate.

Faye Smyth, president of the Uniformed Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association, said 26% of her workers – who undergo 24/7 surgery to provide FDNY emergency information – are currently unvaccinated.

“If they were to take away 26% of my membership, people would die,” Smyth said, adding that potential calls could go unanswered.

Councilor Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore) said the city started its vaccination mandates in schools with substitute teachers and paraprofessionals who could take over those who did not want to be shot, but these options do not exist for other agencies, such as the NYPD, FDNY, sanitation, city ministry of transportation or department of correction.

“It ends now because your jobs cannot be replaced,” Borelli said, urging them to go to work. “Get them to send you home. Make them feel that they do not have you because you are valuable. You are valuable. When you are not there, nothing happens. ”

Rally against NYC vaccination mandate for all city workers

Nancy Montelli attended the convention in support of her husband, who works for the Department of Environmental Protection. The convention was held outside Millie’s on Staten Island, Charleston. Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Staten Island Advance / Annalize Knudson)

Nancy Montelli attended the convention Sunday in support of her husband, who has worked at the Department of Environmental Protection for 31 years.

“He must be vaccinated by October 29. We are not anti-vaccine. But we live in America, we have the choice of freedom, “she said, calling the mayor a tyrant.

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-East Shore / South Brooklyn), Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore) also spoke during the convention. Others present were: David Carr, candidate for councilor in the Middle Island; Vito Fossella and Leticia Remauro, both candidates for mayor; and Cara Buonincontri, Community Liaison for Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island / Brooklyn).

A major, city-wide anti-mandate march is scheduled for Monday.

New York City workers against the mandate will meet outside 9 Metrotech Plaza at 11:30 and cross the Brooklyn Bridge and finish the march at City Hall.

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