N.Y.C. Union Leaders Say Mayor’s Covid Mandate Took Them by Surprise
John Samuelsen, president of the transit workers’ union, said its members have “different ideas about whether to get the vaccine or not.” He heard from workers who had previously had Covid-19 and didn’t think they needed to be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said people should get vaccinated even if they already have Covid-19 because experts don’t know how long the protection lasts after a person heals.
“There are transit workers who have religious reasons, health reasons – it comes from many different angles,” Samuelsen said.
The unions representing teachers and principals, who have strongly criticized Mr. de Blasio in the past, have been cooperative. Mark Cannizzaro, president of the managers’ union, said the changes would be “minor” for its members and that one positive development is that vaccinated managers would no longer have to undergo weekly tests.
Michael Skelly, spokesperson for the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, which represents New York City prison officers, said any required testing should be paid for by the city. Its members also appear to have one of the lowest vaccination rates – the city said only 33% of correctional workers were vaccinated at sites in the city last week.
Mr Skelly said many union members live out of town and were more likely to have been vaccinated at sites there. He said members were reluctant to comment on the city’s decision or their own vaccination status.
“People have a variety of experiences with this, and it’s very personal to them,” he said.
Dee Torres, 60, an office worker for the city, said she had been vaccinated and wanted all city workers to do the same. But she didn’t believe the weekly tests would pressure her unvaccinated colleagues to change their minds.
“People are still stuck,” she said. “I have colleagues who say they don’t need the vaccine.
The report was provided by Jonas E. Bromwich, Troy Closson, Michel Gold, Amanda rosa, Dana rubinstein and Eliza shapiro
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