Organized Labor in New York Opposes COVID Vaccine Mandates

by Michael Kane

7-28-21 (updated 8-1-21)

Organized labor in NYC is 100% against vaccine mandates to keep our jobs. Now the lame-duck mayor Bill De Blasio is implementing a policy designed to coerce all city employees to get the COVID vaccine without going through collective bargaining. TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is planning legal action.

Here is a list of labor unions that oppose forced vaccination to maintain employment:

NYC Firefighters are completely opposed to having to choose between forced vaccination and weekly COVID testing. The Firefighers union has been vocal and steadfast that vaccination should not be mandatory. “Vaccination will NOT be mandatory,” wrote Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Chief of Department John Sudnik when the vaccine first came to use.

FDNY EMS Local 2507 is completely opposed to having to choose between forced vaccination or weekly COVID testing, saying they are “strongly opposed to these new workplace mandates being forced upon all 4,300 of our members by Mayor de Blasio. These must be a subject of collective bargaining. The city and the mayor cannot simply disregard the civil liberties of the workforce,” the union said in a statement. They have long held vaccination “should be an individual choice.”

Detectives Endowment Association (DEA) is completely opposed to having to choose between forced vaccination or weekly COVID tessting, saying “every detective should have the right to choose whether or not he or she receives the vaccine. This is not about politics, but about the personal rights of our members not to be forced in any way into making a decision based on a risk of punishment by the City.”

Local 1199 Healthcare workers are aggressively challenging Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s COVID vaccine mandate. This is the largest union of healthcare workers in the country. These healthcare workers are extremely well educated and know how to make good decisions to keep themselves, their families, and the patients they care for safe. 1199 President George Gresham recently stated, “We are not in agreement with a mandate of the COVID-19 vaccine. A hard-handed approach will not work and will only create greater frustration for the healthcare heroes who have been battling this pandemic every day for the last 15 months. We agree that vaccination is an important tool to help us move forward, but mandating vaccination is not, nor will it ever, be the answer.” On July 22 hundreds of 1199 union members were in front of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital protesting the vaccine mandate the hospital is trying to force on workers. The union members had signs that read “VACCINES YES — MANDATES NO!” Al Sharpton was present at the protest.

In similar fashion, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) has issued a official statement against vaccine mandates for nurses and healthcare workers where they state, “NYSNA does not support mandatory immunization as either a condition of employment or as a state or federal mandate.” 

Both local 1199 and NYSNA opposing forcing the COVID vaccine on their membership to keep their jobs should hold a lot of weight for all of us, as they speak with the voice of medical professionals and first responders.

But there’s more…

EMS officers union is against mandatory COVID vaccination of their members. Their president Vincent Variale stated, “We’ve always been against mandatory vaccination of members. Our position is that everybody has a right to decide what they want to put in their bodies, and nobody should be forced to take something they don’t agree with.”

Union of University Professionals has stated, “We at the UUP think the best way forward is to be voluntarily vaccinated…I don’t want to be in situation where I have to negotiate with the Governor or his representatives If they decide they want to mandate vaccines, that has not come up in any conversations, there is noindication that that is going to happen.”

Police unions in NYC and across the entire country are not mandating the COVID vaccine for their members. The Police Benevolent Society stated, “In the PBA’s view, it’s a personal medical decision that each member should make in consultation with his or her own doctor.”

The Transit Workers Union President John Samuelsen said his employees have diverse ideas about vaccination including religious and health objections. In addtion Tramell Thompson , founder of Progressive Action, a faction of transit workers, stated, “The real pandemic is poor healthcare, poor economics, poor education. Until those things change, I don’t really see Blacks and Latinos stepping up to the plate to take a vaccine they don’t trust.’”

Though DC 37 has not put out a public statement, in responding to my email asking for the union’s position on vaccine mandates, Freddi Goldstein replied, “our position is that while we strongly encourage vaccination, we oppose mandating it for workers.”

The New York Teacher Unions have come out against vaccine mandates for educators. This includes UFT President Michael Mulgrew, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, and even Randi Weingarten who reversed her position on force vaccinating educators. NY Teacher unions have stated they support the choice between weely COVID testing or getting the vaccine, and have ridiculously handed away their rights to collectively bargain with the City. TEACHERS FOR CHOICE has been pushing back on NY Teacher Union leadership inthis regard.

The president of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) says Governor Cuomo’s mandate takes away his members’ right to choose, and they had no input in the matter.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has pushed back hard on the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for federal workers. “While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent,” the union said in a statement maintaining the government must collectively bargain such new mandates.

We will be adding more unions and their statements to the above list as they continue to come out (last updated 8-1-21)

TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is currently in regular communications with multiple attorneys exploring our legal options against Mayor De Blasio’s new COVID vaccination and testing policy. Forcing medical mandates does not create safety, but rather it breeds distrust. TEACHERS FOR CHOICE does not support any medical mandate forcing the COVID vaccine on any New Yorker, adult or child.

9 thoughts on “Organized Labor in New York Opposes COVID Vaccine Mandates

  1. I feel everyone of every ethnic background and religion should be free to decide on taking any vaccine . This is against our Constitutional rights as Americans. I am a Phlebotomist and a medical Assistant and can make my own medical judgements with my physician.


  2. I am an educator in upstate. With the announcement made today about state employees being required to get vaccinated, it would seem to make sense that educators will soon be facing the same situation (or state aid will be withheld, right?) How do we move forward with representation for upstate areas?


  3. Michael thank you for doing this. It is the defining issue of our time.
    I would truly appreciate if you can take this National and help organize a march of DC!! National mall action is required here. You and I are on opposite sides of the political aisle but I think you truly understand what is going on.
    People all over this country in every profession are losing their jobs or in danger of losing their jobs due to forced vax mandates. We need to send a message to the president who of course are in favor of this. We also need to send a message to the CDC and the FDA and every legislator so they understand we are sick of medical tyranny.

    We need patriots of all political persuasion to stop this totalitarian behavior.


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