UPDATED 11:28 AM PT – Friday, October 29, 2021
New York City firefighters and hundreds of other city workers march in protest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D-N.Y.) vaccine mandate. As de Blasio’s vaccine deadline for all New York City municipal workers closes in, leaders representing the city’s Uniformed Firefighters Association gathered outside of his residence.
“This is really an absolutely unnecessary threat to the lives of New Yorkers,” said President of the FDNY Firefighters Association Andrew Ansbro.
Hundreds of protesters showed up at Grace Mansion on Thursday as they marched in opposition of the mayor’s mandate. They were joined by politicians, as well as other union members.
Union members said there’s already a staffing shortage as it is and 3,500 FDNY members now face unpaid leave if they don’t receive the first jab by 5 p.m. Friday night, along with thousands of other city workers.
“This city is going to look very different on Nov. 1. You’re going to see dozens and dozens of firehouses closed. You’re going to see response times climb. It is inevitable. Lives are going to be lost,” stressed Ansbro.
Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro is firing back at the city’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers, saying it is unnecessary. “This is a political game they’re playing right now, and the stakes of the game are the lives of New Yorkers,” Ansbro said. pic.twitter.com/NPFwcRS6KR
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) October 29, 2021
Officials said around 64 percent of firefighters have been vaccinated, along with 75 percent of the New York Police Department. The mandate could force the FDNY to undergo significant closures, leaving 20 percent of ambulances off the streets. The mandate could also see serious repercussions on policing.
The protest is one last push to scrap the mandate, but comes after de Blasio assured he wasn’t having second thoughts earlier on Thursday. He seemed unconcerned as he expects a surge in vaccinations while city officials brace for major staffing shortages.
“No, there’s no discussion of changing the deadline,” de Blasio has stated.
Many protesters in attendance have been vaccinated themselves, but showed up in support of freedom of choice.
Meanwhile, FDNY officials have said the department is using all resources including mandatory overtime and scheduling changes in order to ensure continuity of operations.
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