According to a report from ABC7, today is the final day for any New York City employee who does not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine to file for a religious or medical exemption if they want to stay on the payroll.
The new deal covers nine unions including the city’s largest union—DC 37—which represents 88,000 (55 percent) of the city workforce covered by the most recent mandate that took effect last week. The police (NYPD) and fire (FDNY) unions, however, are not part of these exemptions and continue to negotiate their own deals.
Approximately 92 percent of city employees under the mandate are vaccinated; this includes 90 percent of emergency medical services (EMS), 79 percent of FDNY members, 85 percent of sanitation workers, and 85 percent of NYPD employees.
On Thursday, Andrew Ansbro, the president of the uniformed firefighters union, said he wants the city to reintroduce the option for weekly testing, but they may be running out of time to negotiate now that several other unions have a deal in place.
Meanwhile, 77 percent of FDNY members on the job are working longer hours, with several multiple-alarm fires occurring this week.
The fire union referred to a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule announced on Thursday that requires nearly 100 million U.S. workers (from companies with more than 100 employees) to be vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or be subjected to weekly testing. However, that testing option will not be extended to federal workers, contractors, or health care employees.
Despite this, the city says that, if a worker is on unpaid leave and changes his or her mind, he or she can still get the vaccine and go back to work immediately.