The New York City firefighter’s union vows to take all steps possible to stop the city mandate that would require firefighters to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination by October 31 or be sent home without pay.
Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of New York City, which represents city firefighters, said 45% of the city’s firefighters are unvaccinated.
However, with 55% vaccinated and another 70% already having had COVID, the department has reached herd immunity, he said.
“These New York City firefighters have served the citizens of the city during the pandemic . . . We showed up in the beginning when personal protective equipment was in short supply and COVID was considered a death sentence,” he said. “We in the UFA have always been pro-vaccine, but we have also been pro-choice and anti-mandate. We will look for all avenues to protect our members and make this a personal choice.”
While the union determines what grounds it will use to challenge the mandate in court, Ansbro said union members are being told to report for duty as usual. He predicts that if the city sends the unvaccinated firefighters home on November first, the effects on the city’s preparedness will be significant. However, he said, the city will have to take responsibility for that rather than firefighters because firefighters will honor their oath unless barred from working.
Listen to the UFA announcement here.