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NYC teachers union vows to fight city plan to remove 15,000 unvaccinated teachers from payroll 

New York City teachers are fighting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID vaccine mandate which will remove all unvaccinated educators from district payroll at the end of this month. 

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which represents the city’s educators, has said it is seeking arbitration to fight the order. 

However, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the New York Post impact negotiations with city leaders have ‘gone to a very bad place’.

‘It’s clear that the two sides are very very far apart when it comes to this vaccine mandate,’ he said. 

According to the mayor’s mandate, which was announced about two weeks ago, every department of education employee must receive at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by September 27. It also does not allow for religious or medical exemptions. 

The mandate will result in nearly 15,000 unvaccinated educators being unemployed and without healthcare coverage. 

The United Federation of Teachers is working to fight New York City’s vaccine mandate which will remove all unvaccinated educators from district payroll at the end of this month (Pictured: Masked students at Simon Baruch School in Manhattan on Aug. 5)

Mulgrew, who has actively encouraged district employees to get the COVID shot, argues that the city is being ‘unreasonably rigid’ with its policy.

He believes educators with legitimate medical concerns should not be penalized because of their health.

‘The city’s position is to remove them from payroll.’ he said.

‘That is disgusting as far as I’m concerned. And it does not follow the law. The law says that these accommodations and exemptions have to be in place.’ 

Additionally, Mulgrew notes that unvaccinated educators will also be stripped of their district sponsored health insurance.

De Blasio argues that the mandate is necessary to help the city slow the spread of the hyper-contagious Delta variant.

‘We know this is going to help to ensure that everyone is safe,’ he said when announcing the mandate, at which point only 63 percent of education staff had been vaccinated.

The mandate requires every DOE employee to receive at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by September 27. It also does not allow for religious or medical exemptions (Pictured: Teacher at Yung Wing School in NYC preparing her classroom on Sept. 2)

The mandate requires every DOE employee to receive at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by September 27. It also does not allow for religious or medical exemptions (Pictured: Teacher at Yung Wing School in NYC preparing her classroom on Sept. 2)

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (pictured) says they are working to fight the order, however impact negotiations with city leaders have 'gone to a very bad place'

DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson (pictured) said the city is continuing to negotiate with the union, but emphasized that the mandate is in place to protect the entire academic community

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (left) says they are working to fight the order, however impact negotiations with city leaders have ‘gone to a very bad place’. DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson (right) said the city is continuing to negotiate with the union, but emphasized that the mandate is in place to protect the entire academic community

As of Thursday, an estimated 80 percent of UFT members had received at least one dose of the coronavirus shot – the highest rate among city workers, the Staten Island Advance reported. 

‘We are clearly true believers in this vaccine. We’ve done the best job in getting people vaccinated,’ Mulgrew said. 

Mulgrew has focused his commentary on unvaccinated individuals with religious and medical accommodations. 

However, he says the policy for educators who don’t qualify for either exemption but continue to refuse the vaccine is still being negotiated.

Department of Education spokeswoman Danielle Filson told the Post that they are continuing to negotiate with the union, but emphasized that the mandate is in place to protect the entire academic community.

As of Thursday, an estimated 80 percent of UFT members had received at least one dose of the coronavirus shot - the highest rate among city workers (Pictured: An empty classroom at Yung Wing School in NYC on Sept. 2)

As of Thursday, an estimated 80 percent of UFT members had received at least one dose of the coronavirus shot – the highest rate among city workers (Pictured: An empty classroom at Yung Wing School in NYC on Sept. 2)

Mulgrew, who has actively encouraged district employees to get the COVID shot, argues that the city is being 'unreasonably rigid' with its policy. He believes educators with legitimate medical concerns should not be penalized because of their health

Mulgrew, who has actively encouraged district employees to get the COVID shot, argues that the city is being ‘unreasonably rigid’ with its policy. He believes educators with legitimate medical concerns should not be penalized because of their health

‘The health and safety of New York City children and the protection of our employees is at the core of the vaccine mandate,’ said Filson.

‘We will continue to negotiate with the UFT to reach a successful agreement because that is what’s best for our school communities.’ 

New York’s vaccine directive followed similar mandates for teachers in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Neighboring New Jersey also announced a vaccine mandate, but would allow unvaccinated teachers if they agree to once-a-week testing. Similarly, all state agencies, public colleges and universities in the Garden State face the same mandate.

Neither union nor district leaders immediately responded to MailOnline’s request for comment. 

The move comes as New York City has seen a rise in COVID cases over the last three months, due in part to the Delta variant. 

Data from the NYC Health Department outlining the daily averages for the last 7 and 28 days indicates a decrease in overall cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

City data also shows an increase in vaccinations among city residents. 

58.8 percent of New York City residents are fully vaccinated whereas 65.4 percent have received at least one dose of the COVID shot. 

New York City has seen a rise in COVID cases over the last three months, due in part to the Delta variant (Data as of Sept. 3)

New York City has seen a rise in COVID cases over the last three months, due in part to the Delta variant (Data as of Sept. 3)

COVID cases throughout New York City from March 1 - September 1

COVID cases throughout New York City from March 1 – September 1

Daily averages for the last 7 and 28 days indicates a decrease in overall cases, hospitalizations and deaths (Data as of Sept. 3)

Daily averages for the last 7 and 28 days indicates a decrease in overall cases, hospitalizations and deaths (Data as of Sept. 3)

City data also shows an increase in vaccinations among city residents (Data as of Sept. 3)

City data also shows an increase in vaccinations among city residents (Data as of Sept. 3)

58.8 percent of residents are fully vaccinated whereas 65.4 percent have received at least one dose of the COVID shot

58.8 percent of residents are fully vaccinated whereas 65.4 percent have received at least one dose of the COVID shot


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