September 16, 2021

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N.Y.C. Union Leaders Say Mayor’s Covid Mandate Took Them by Surprise – The New York Times

2 min read

John Samuelsen, the president of the transit workers’ union, said that his members have “diverse ideas about whether or not to get the vaccine.” He has heard from workers who already had Covid-19 and do not believe they need to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that people should get vaccinated even if they already had Covid-19 because experts do not know how long protection lasts after someone recovers.

“There are transit workers that have religious reasons, health reasons — it comes from several different angles,” Mr. Samuelsen said.

The unions representing teachers and principals, who have sharply criticized Mr. de Blasio in the past, appeared to be cooperative. Mark Cannizzaro, president of the principals’ union, said that the changes would be “minor” for his members and that one positive development is that vaccinated principals would no longer have to submit to weekly testing.

Michael Skelly, a spokesman for ​the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, which represents New York City’s jail officers, said that ​any required testing should be paid for ​by the city. His members also appear to have one of the lowest vaccination rates — the city said that only 33 percent of correction employees had been vaccinated at sites in the city as of last week.

Mr. Skelly said that many of the union’s members live outside the city and were more likely to have been vaccinated at sites there. He said that members were reluctant to comment on the city’s decision or their own vaccination statuses.

“People have a variety of experiences with this, and it’s very personal for them,” he said.

Dee Torres, 60, a clerical associate for the city, said she had gotten vaccinated and wanted all municipal employees to do the same. But she did not believe that weekly testing would pressure her unvaccinated colleagues to change their minds.

“People are still stuck,” she said. “I have co-workers who say they don’t need the vaccine.”

Reporting was contributed by Jonah E. Bromwich, Troy Closson, Michael Gold, Amanda Rosa, Dana Rubinstein and Eliza Shapiro

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