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Brooklyn looks like the NYC of the 1970s as trash piles up amid workers’ vaccine protest

Trash piles have begun to overtake the streets of Brooklyn and Staten Island as sanitation workers protest New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate, with the 5 p.m. Friday deadline looming. 

With employees allegedly engaging in a ‘slow down’ of removing trash from the curb, NYC streets in some boroughs are reminiscent of the city’s trash-filled 1970s era, where garbage lined the sidewalks from block to block following a sanitation workers’ strike. 

When asked about the situation, Teamsters Local 831 President Harry Nespoli, whose union represents the sanitation workers, simply said, ‘The mandate’s going on.’ 

‘Look, you’re going to have some spots in the city that they feel very strongly about this,’ he told the New York Post of the vaccine mandate. Only about 65% of sanitation workers are reportedly vaccinated as of Thursday.

De Blasio said he would be speaking with the union on Thursday to address the issue, saying: ‘This is something we are not going to let continue.’ 

During a news conference Thursday, De Blasio, who was wearing a Halloween costume, added: ‘If you don’t want to do the job – someone else will.’ 

Trash piles have sprung up throughout Brooklyn as sanitations workers allegedly engaged in a slow down over the city’s vaccine mandate. About 65 percent of sanitation workers are vaccinated 

The trash along Flatbush Avenue is reminiscent of city's days in the 60s and 70s, where garbage littered nearly every sidewalk

The trash along Flatbush Avenue is reminiscent of city’s days in the 60s and 70s, where garbage littered nearly every sidewalk

The trash along Flatbush Avenue and Avenue is pilling up at the end of the block on October 28

The trash along Flatbush Avenue and Avenue is pilling up at the end of the block on October 28

Garbage began overtaking the city's streets starting in 1968 following a strike by sanitation workers

Garbage began overtaking the city’s streets starting in 1968 following a strike by sanitation workers

Sanitation workers are allegedly slowing down their trash pickups and causing garbage to pile up

Sanitation workers are allegedly slowing down their trash pickups and causing garbage to pile up

The problem garbage decades ago left streets full of trash to the point where they even blocked mail boxes

The problem garbage decades ago left streets full of trash to the point where they even blocked mail boxes

The garbage has not been collected in days, with some residents saying the slow down began on Saturday

The garbage has not been collected in days, with some residents saying the slow down began on Saturday

Then Mayor John Lindsay received heavy criticism for allowing the problem to persist. Lindsay had said the only thing that could help New York at the time was to call in the National Guard

Then Mayor John Lindsay received heavy criticism for allowing the problem to persist. Lindsay had said the only thing that could help New York at the time was to call in the National Guard 

Teamsters Local 831 President Harry Nespoli, pictured in 2011, said that employees were not happy with the vaccine mandate, which calls on them to be vaccinated or get weekly testing done

Teamsters Local 831 President Harry Nespoli, pictured in 2011, said that employees were not happy with the vaccine mandate, which calls on them to be vaccinated or get weekly testing done

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, wearing a Halloween costume, said he would put and end to the slow down during a news conference on Thursday. He warned employees that they could be replaced

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, wearing a Halloween costume, said he would put and end to the slow down during a news conference on Thursday. He warned employees that they could be replaced 

Nespoli said the vaccination rate among sanitation workers is 65 percent as of Thursday but noted that more and more are choosing to get the jab ahead of the deadline. 

‘In the last five days, we had 300 more that got vaccinated,’ he told the Post. 

He added that he and others oppose the vaccine mandate because the city’s program only provides two options, either vaccinations or weekly testing. 

Those who refuse to get the shot would be place on unpaid leave, and those who do get the jab are entitled to a $500 bonus.

New York City has more than 7,000 sanitation workers, who reportedly earn more than $77,000 a year after five years, according to Business Insider

They collect more than 10,500 tons of residential and institutional garbage every day. 

The main areas affected by the protests in Brooklyn include Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Flatbush, Midwood, Kensington, Canarsie, Mill Basin and the Flatlands, according to the Sanitation Department.

The Dongan Hills neighborhood in Staten Island was also affected.  

Garbage in Brooklyn continues to pile up on October 28 as bags add up outside a full trash can

Garbage in Brooklyn continues to pile up on October 28 as bags add up outside a full trash can

The slowdown is mainly affecting Brooklyn neighborhoods

The slowdown is mainly affecting Brooklyn neighborhoods

All throughout Flatbush Avenue, garbage piles build up due to the protest over vaccine mandates

All throughout Flatbush Avenue, garbage piles build up due to the protest over vaccine mandates

Sanitation workers are allegedly working slowly as a sign of protest against the mayor's orders

Sanitation workers are allegedly working slowly as a sign of protest against the mayor’s orders

While some were sympathetic toward the sanitation workers, many took to Twitter to express their outrage as their trash has not been collected in days. 

‘NYC sanitation must address the crybabies that are supposed to pickup trash!!! Trash on my block has not been picked up since Friday October 22nd,’ wrote Twitter user Pietro Troia. 

Another Twitter user, Merck Wilhelm, wrote: ‘Good morning from beautiful Brooklyn to everyone except @NYCSanitation where the trash on the curb is now 3 days old.’ 

A user with the handle A Pocalypse also voiced his angered toward the unvaccinated city employees. 

‘Visit Brooklyn for the beautiful mountains of trash and stay for unvaccinated police protesting in your streets. Sounds like paradise.’ 

Another Twitter user who goes by Annbutterfly 22 called out de Balsio and urged him to fix the situation. 

‘[Before] you attempt being Governor can u handle the trash collection in Brooklyn and why @nyc311 won’t take a complaint for non pickup until 8am after ones pickup day even though trash hasn’t been picked up since last Saturday.’ 

Residents expressed their outrage on Twitter over the lack of garbage pick up

Residents expressed their outrage on Twitter over the lack of garbage pick up

This comes as the head of New York City’s firefighter union told members to go to work whether they’re vaccinated or not ahead of Friday’s mandate deadline, as the police union continues to fight the rule in court.

New York City could face a serious shortage of firefighters and cops come Friday evening – the deadline for all city workers to get their first shot or get sent home without pay on Monday.

Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, says that his members felt ‘insulted’ by de Blasio’s order, which was announced just last week.

‘I have told my members that if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty,’ Ansbro said during a news conference Wednesday.

‘If they are told they cannot work, it will be the department and city of New York that sends them home. And it will be the department and the city of New York that has failed to protect the citizens of New York.’

NYC firefighters' union President Andrew Ansbro, above on Wednesday, is encouraging members to show up to work in defiance of Mayor Bill de Blasio's vaccine mandate

NYC firefighters’ union President Andrew Ansbro, above on Wednesday, is encouraging members to show up to work in defiance of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate

Municipal workers of the city march across the Brooklyn Bridge against vaccination mandates in New York on October 25

Municipal workers of the city march across the Brooklyn Bridge against vaccination mandates in New York on October 25

Close to one-third of the fire department remains unvaccinated.

On Wednesday, a Staten Island judge rejected a request by the NYPD’s largest union to temporarily block the mandate from taking place. Similar court fights are taking place in Seattle and Chicago, where mayors have also instituted vaccine mandates for city workers.

A new hearing has been scheduled for November 12, in which the government will have to prove the mandate is not ‘arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion.’ 

‘We’re pleased with this ruling, and remain confident this mandate is on solid legal ground,’ said city Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci after the mandate was upheld on Wednesday. 

‘The city’s vaccine mandates make our workplaces safer, further public health and aid the city’s recovery.’ 

Judge Lizette Colon previously ruled against Mac’s Public House in their lawsuit to block the city’s bar and restaurant vaccine mandate, according to the New York Daily News. 

Colon harked back to a 2019 state appellate ruling that upheld a vaccine mandate for measles, according to Bloomberg

About 32 percent of employees at the New York City Fire Department remain unvaccinated, Reuters reported. That’s down from 40 percent on October 19, when the mayor’s office released its last city-wide tally. 

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday that 75 percent of his force is vaccinated, a number that has been steadily climbing ahead of tomorrow’s deadline. 


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