Unvaccinated NY workers still want jobs back
New York State Supreme Court Justice Gerard Neri ruled Jan. 13 to overturn a statewide mandate for medical workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Kathy Hochul has since indicated that repealing the mandate will not allow unvaccinated workers to get their jobs back.
Hochul’s office said the state had already appealed Tuesday to challenge the decision.
“Governor Hochul is committed to protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers, including our healthcare workers charged with caring for the most vulnerable among us,” Hochul’s office responded to Amsterdam News’ inquiry.
Neri declared vaccination regulations for medical personnel “null, void and of no effect,” similar to when Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzioa called the vaccination regulation “arbitrary and capricious.” In this case, Porzioa reinstated 16 sanitary workers with additional payments.
These rulings are a drop in the bucket considering an injunction from the Onondaga County Supreme Court is still in effect and the Department of Health has won several other legal challenges to mandates.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio first introduced the vaccination mandate in October 2021. Over 12,000 city employees requested exemptions for religious or medical purposes. By March 2022, Mayor Eric Adams had removed the mandate for professional athletes and entertainers. In November he did the same for private employers. The mandate withdrawals were cited in a series of court cases challenging the city’s refusal to provide religious shelters.
District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO (DC 37) is the largest union of public employees in New York City. A spokesman for DC 37 said about 2,000 unvaccinated city employees have lost their jobs as a result of the mandates so far.
DC 37 declined to comment further on efforts to restore workers’ jobs due to commitments in an ongoing court battle with Adams and his government.
Amsterdam News reached out to the mayor’s office for comment, but had received no response as of press time.
Ariama C. Long is a member of the Report for America Corps and writes on politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation of our RFA grant helps her write stories like this; Please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://bit.ly/amnews1