The terminations make up less than 1% of the city’s 370,000-member workforce. About half of the 3,000 employees originally at risk for being fired decided to get vaccinated before the deadline, according to a City Hall spokesperson.
New York City mayor Eric Adams characterized the employees’ termination as quitting, saying that they’re choosing to leave their jobs by not following the rules.
“Our goal was always to vaccinate, not terminate,” Adams said in a statement Monday.
Adams defended the city’s decision to follow through with unvaccinated city workers during a press conference on Friday in light of protests and backlash from municipal-worker groups. More than two dozen unions sued the city last week over the Feb. 11 vaccine deadline, including the Police Benevolent Association, the United Federation of Teachers and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.
He joins a number of U.S. officials attempting to boost the national 64% vaccination rate by requiring large workforces to protect themselves. The Biden administration ordered federal workers to get shots, but a judge blocked the rule in January. Major cities like Chicago and San Diego have also required employees to get vaccinated.
Last week, the Supreme Court declined to hear a November lawsuit from the city’s teachers, who argued that the vaccination requirement violated religious freedoms.
The city’s vaccination deadline impacted about 3,000 workers who took unpaid leave instead of getting shots when the city’s mandate took effect in October, as well as about 1,000 recent hires who hadn’t submitted documentation of their second doses.
There were 914 people fired from the Department of Education, 101 from the New York City Housing Authority, 75 from the Department of Correction, 40 from the Department of Sanitation and 36 from the New York Police Department, the city said.