On Wednesday, the head of New York City’s firefighters union announced that he had been advising all members who had not yet been vaccinated to remain unvaccinated, ignoring the citywide mandate ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.), according to The Hill.
During a news conference, Andrew Ansbro said that he had “told my members that if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty. If they are told they cannot work, it will be the department and city of New York that sends them home. And it will be the department and the city of New York that has failed to protect the citizens of New York.”
De Blasio has enacted some of the strictest vaccine requirements in the nation, if not the world. Private businesses in New York are now ordered to check for vaccination status of any potential customers before they enter the establishment. Last week, he expanded the scope of the mandate to include public employees, while simultaneously ending the ability to opt-out of the vaccine in favor of submitting weekly negative tests for COVID-19.
The new order demands that all workers submit proof of vaccination by October 29th. The Agence France-Presse reports that about 40 percent of the FDNY, approximately 6,800 firefighters, have still not yet taken a vaccine.
Another union representing emergency workers of New York, the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA), is suing the city over the vaccine mandate, and is currently seeking a temporary restraining order to indefinitely halt the mandate’s rollout while the case goes through the courts.