US NYC vaccine mandate: Police, fire unions warn of possible staffing 'crisis' as deadline looms
Over 25% of Americans are no longer living in high-transmission counties: Live COVID-19 updates
More than one-quarter of Americans are now living in a county that no longer has high levels of community transmission of coronavirus. COVID updates.That's a major change from earlier in the pandemic wave driven by the delta variant, when every state was considered to have high levels of community transmission, which the CDC says is 100 cases per 100,000 people per week.
first responders are grappling with a potential new reality as a result of the -issued mandate, with the fire department revealing it will need to close as much as 20% of its fire companies and will have 20% fewer ambulances to run calls.
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) announced the potential shortages on Wednesday when the(NYPD) was also pushing for more employee vaccinations as the mandate deadline looms.
As of Wednesday, 75% of NYPD personnel and 68% of FDNY workers were vaccinated, city officials said.
For police, it's not just a vaccine issue. It's a workers' rights issue.
Big cities across America are forcing employees to get vaccinated as part of their jobs, and many police unions are pushing back, driven by a mix of anti-vaccine ideology and principled disagreement over changing work rules on the fly. © TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images Unions are availing themselves of their collecting bargaining rights to resist the mandates, citing laws and contract provisions that require employers to negotiate with unions when they want to change workplace rules. Complicating negotiations is the lingering animosity that exists between elected officials and police unions in big cities.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday night, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the FDNY would "use all means at our disposal, including mandatory overtime, mutual aid from other EMS providers, and significant changes to the schedules of our members to ensure continuity of operations."
A spokesperson for the NYPD did not immediately respond to Fox News' request seeking comment, but told The Associated Press: "We will be prepared for any changes in personnel due to the mandate."
According to the, 75% of vaccinated personnel within the NYPD – the largest police force in the country – consists of 63% of police officers who work the streets of the city. An estimated 6,000 remain unvaccinated, according to the report.
More companies are requiring vaccines for workers, but some unions could slow the effort down
More employers are mandating Covid-19 vaccines for their workers as the Delta variant surges across the United States. But one step in the process could slow down the rollout of such requirements: negotiations with labor unions representing employees. © Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images A physician assistant prepares a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA on May 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Talks between employers and labor leaders are taking place in a variety of industries.
New York City Mayorordered Big Apple firefighters, police officers and the majority of other city workers to receive at least one shot by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. Those city workers who did so would be paid $500 bonuses, he said.
Those who chose not to get vaccinated by Friday’s deadline would be placed on leave without pay beginning Monday. An FDNY firefighter who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity out of fear of repercussions said FDNY regulation dictates that those placed on leave without pay for more than 30 days are required to "turn in their badges."
"Essentially forced to resign," the source said.
At the time of his announcement, on Oct. 20, de Blasio estimated 46,000 city workers were unvaccinated.
Unions representing both departments have filed separate lawsuits against the city. One Wednesday, FDNY Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro warned of potentially "inevitable," "irrefutable" repercussions from the mandate, and stressed the "catastrophic" manpower and staffing shortage that could come as a result.
Vikings' Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley expected to return Thursday from COVID-19 list
Kirk Cousins and backup Nate Stanley are expected to return to practice Thursday. Both were deemed high-risk close contacts when Kellen Mond tested positive for the coronavirus. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer would not say when Mond, who must miss at least 10 days per the league's protocols, may be back at practice. Vikings cornerback and eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson has campaigned for more of his teammates to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots amid reports that only 64.5% of Minnesota players are fully vaccinated.
"I don't think the mayor understands what's going to happen on November 1st," Ansbro said during a Wednesday press conference. "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. That is irrefutable."
Also on Wednesday, a New York judge refused a city police union’s request to delay the vaccine mandate. Judge Lizette Colon also set a Nov. 12 court date for city officials to defend the mandate against the Police Benevolent Association’s (PBA) lawsuit, which seeks to have it deemed illegal.
In a statement posted on the PBA’s Twitter, union president Patrick Lynch said Colon’s ruling "sets the city up for a real crisis."
"The haphazard rollout of this mandate has created chaos in the NYPD," Lynch wrote, in part. "This not only violates police officers’ rights – it will inevitably result in fewer cops available to protect our city."
Lynch added: "New Yorkers should know who to blame for any shortfall in city services: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Shea and the other bureaucrats who are putting politics before public health and public safety."
Firefighters’ union members plan to protest the mandate on Thursday morning.
Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.
CDC gives go-head for kids vaccine; Arizona schools can keep mask mandates: COVID-19 updates .
Children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and could start getting shots this week. Latest COVID-19 updates.Late Tuesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after an expert panel's recommendation.