"We've got to end the Covid era," says Mayor as unions back down, plead for negotiation

New York City will require police officers, firefighters and other municipal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid leave, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, giving an ultimatum to public employees who’ve refused and ensuring a fight with some of the unions representing them, AP reported

The mandate affecting the nation’s largest police department and more than 100,000 other Big Apple workers — including trash haulers and building inspectors — carries a Nov. 1 deadline for getting the first vaccine dose, de Blasio announced.

Jailers on Rikers Island, where the city has been grappling with staffing shortages creating unsafe conditions, will be subject to the mandate on Dec. 1.

Of the workers affected by the new mandate, 71% have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the city.

Municipal union leader Henry Garrido pleaded with the city to discuss the mandate, but shied away from urging his members to resist. “We encourage all our members to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families,” Garrido said in a statement. “The proposed mandate must be collectively bargained and we expect City Hall to slow down and sit down with us.”

The city previously mandated vaccines for public school teachers and the state has previously mandated vaccines for hospital workers.

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