Thousands of New York City municipal workers held a rally and marched over the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday in protest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new COVID vaccine mandate.
On Wednesday, Oct. 20, de Blasio announced that all city workers must receive at least one shot by Nov. 1 or go on unpaid leave until they complied. The only exception was granted to Corrections Officers, who have until Dec. 1 to get their first shot, due to staffing shortages and chronically poor working conditions.
The protestors carried handmade signs that read “We’re Not Going to Take It,” My Body, My Choice,” and “We Tested Positive for Freedom.” A large banner, adorned with the logos of nine city agencies, read, “Workers Are Essential. Mandates Are Not.” American flags were in abundance.
Chants included “We Will Not Comply,” “USA,” “Let Us Work,” “Freedom Over Fear,” and, of course, the popular “Let’s Go Brandon” refrain.
“Now, [after] working after countless of emergencies—Hurricane Sandy, the snowstorms—I am under threat. We are under threat of losing our livelihood for simply retaining the choice of protecting our bodies,” said firefighter Sofia Medina.
Allies of the city employees also joined the protest. Daniel Atha lost his job as a conservation program manager at the New York Botanical Garden after 27 years, rather than being forced to get the jab. “I can’t eat inside a restaurant. I can’t go into a museum. I was fired from my job. That is persecution,” he ranted. “They’re taking away my human rights and treating me as a second class citizen, all based on my medical status. That is wrong, that is tyranny, and that’s exactly how the Holocaust started,” claimed Atha in an apparent reference to early Nazi persecution of Jewish German citizens.
The Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents members of the NYPD, filed for a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of the mandate. “As of this writing, less than five days before the mandate is supposed to go into effect, there is still no written, NYPD-specific policy guidance on how the mandate will be implemented,” read a statement by PBA President Pat Lynch.
UPDATE: TRO REQUEST FILED, *STILL* NO NYPD GUIDELINES ON MANDATE IMPLEMENTATION pic.twitter.com/ADMXMOlGVK
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) October 25, 2021
Worker shortages are expected to ensue if the city persists in enforcing the mandate. NYC’s municipal employee vaccination rates mirror those in other large cities, with roughly one-third of workers declining to get the shots.
“Thousands of good cops and city municipal workers stand to lose their jobs. Are the good people of New York City confident adequate people will fill those positions? I’m frightened of what comes next,” remarked one police officer.
Former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.) appeared on NewsMax TV’s “National Report” this morning to comment on the situation. “Big catastrophe. We need more police. We need police in the breach. We have open drugs being administered around Madison Square Garden. It is unsafe and getting worse,” he said. “The city is going down the drain. It’s a great city and it’s being destroyed by a terrible administration.”