NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – The decision on whether school staff and health workers need to be vaccinated to keep their jobs has been delayed.
City officials and union representatives debated the issue in court on Wednesday, and there has still been no ruling.
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As TBEN’s Natalie Duddridge reports, city officials and union representatives have come to 80 Center Street to make a decision on vaccination warrants.
Over a month ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio said all teachers had to get vaccinated by September 27 or lose their jobs. The state has said the same for health care workers.
“When we had the COVID outbreak it was very, very scary, even for us healthcare workers. So I think people should be vaccinated, ”said health worker Marita Edet.
But many disagreed. Seventeen healthcare workers have filed lawsuits and several municipal unions have sued the city, claiming the tenure violates constitutional rights and should not be a condition of employment.
“I think it’s not fair that they are demanding this. It’s freedom of speech. It is freedom of religion. It should be freedom of choice, ”said Caroline Dipilato, who works in a school.
In separate court rulings, judges temporarily suspended mandatory vaccines until Wednesday.
During his daily briefing, the mayor seemed confident the court would rule in his favor.
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“Everyone understands what happens if you are not vaccinated on time, what the penalties are. I don’t expect a lot of people to want to take these penalties, ”said de Blasio.
There have also been staffing issues if employees refuse to get at least one photo before the deadline – Monday.
But Governor Kathy Hochul said hospitals had contingency plans in place and de Blasio said there would be no shortage of teachers.
“We have a huge core of vaccine substitutes ready to move in,” said de Blasio.
The United Teachers’ Federation says that while it believes its members should be vaccinated, it should not be a condition of employment.
“I think there are probably alternatives for this if they can be tested consistently,” one person said.
“There should be a happy medium. I know there were often tests. Weekly testing, I think, is one way to get around this problem and keep everyone safe, ”said another.
The city says the latest figures show 87% of teachers are already vaccinated, but there have been staffing issues if employees refuse to be vaccinated – not having enough teachers or substitute teachers, or health workers in hospitals.
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John Dias of TBEN contributed to this report.