NEW YORK - New York City has fired more than a thousand municipal workers who failed to comply with the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The 1,430 fired workers represent less than 1% of the 370,000-person city workforce and are far fewer terminations than expected before a Friday deadline to get the shots.
The city sent notices in late January to up to 4,000 workers, saying they had to show proof they got at least two doses of the vaccine or else they'd lose their jobs. Three-quarters of those workers had already been on leave without pay for months, having missed an earlier deadline for getting vaccinated in order to stay on the job.
The office of Mayor Eric Adams said hundreds of workers produced proof of their vaccines or got the shots after being notified they would be fired.
"City workers served on the front lines during the pandemic, and by getting vaccinated, they are, once again, showing how they are willing to do the right thing to protect themselves and all New Yorkers. Our goal was always to vaccinate, not terminate, and city workers stepped up and met the goal placed before them," Adams said in a statement. "Out of all the new city employees who received notices two weeks ago, only two who worked last week are no longer employed by the city. I'm grateful to all the city workers who continue to serve New Yorkers and 'Get Stuff Done' for the greatest city in the world."
About 64% of the 1,430 fired employees worked for the city's education department. About 700 members of the United Federation of Teachers, the union for public school teachers, were given notice they would be fired last week, the union said. The union joined with others to sue to block the firings but a judge ruled in favor of the city on Thursday.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal from a group of Department of Education employees.
The UFT had struck a deal with the city to allow its members to choose to stay on unpaid leave until Sept. 5. But about 700 members opted not to extend their leave or provide proof of vaccination.