NYC vaccine mandate: FDNY 'sickout' forces closure of several firehouses

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Several Fire Department companies in New York City were reportedly out of service Friday because a large number of firefighters were out sick. 

The callouts were potentially related to firefighters protesting the city’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers that took effect Friday. At least 10 companies had to be shut down due to understaffing, WABC-TV in New York. 

City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the situation “unacceptable.”

“The excessive sick leave by a group of our Firefighters because of their anger at the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable, contrary to their oaths to serve, and may endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” he said in a statement. “Despite these actions by some, the Department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way.”

The problem could continue Monday as unvaccinated workers will be placed on leave, according to FOX 5 in New York. 

Labor union denials

But labor unions the Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association denied sanctioning a “sickout.”

UFOA President Jim McCarthy said the union doesn’t “condone any job action, nor do we inform anybody to do a job action.”

UFA President Andrew Ansbro claimed the department was giving employees a few days off to recover from side effects after their vaccinations. 

Protesters gathered outside Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence, on Thursday morning to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate. The mandate took effect Friday.
(Rebecca Rosenberg/Fox News Digital)

“As we have said from the beginning, the New York City Department is already in a staffing crisis,” Ansbro said at a news conference, FOX 5 reported. “For the mayor to turn around and say we can run this department with 25-35% less members is ignoring the fact that we can’t even keep firehouses open today. New York City is going to come to a crisis Monday morning.”

The companies forced to close were in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, according to freelance reporter Ginger Adams Otis.

Six suspensions

Six FDNY employees were also suspended on Friday for allegedly driving a fire truck to the office of a state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and protesting the mandate, claiming the city would have “blood on its hands,” according to FOX 5. 

The protesters also allegedly said they wouldn’t respond to a fire if it was at Myrie’s home, according to WNBC-TV in New York. 

Myrie spoke out against the protest, according to WABC.

“It is incredibly disturbing, that those entrusted with keeping us safe, would be on duty, protesting a vaccine mandate that had nothing to do with what a state elected official has jurisdiction over my staff is rattled, they’re shaken up by it,” he said. “And frankly, I am upset that we’re even having this conversation.”

Protesters also gathered outside Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence, Thursday morning to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate. 

By Friday, 77% of FDNY employees were vaccinated, according to WABC. 

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