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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the requirement, which will affect roughly 340,000 workers, teachers, and police officers when it takes effect in mid-September.
"September is the pivot point of the recovery," the mayor explained at his press conference Monday. "And so, on Sept. 13, the first day of school, every single city employee will be expected to be either vaccinated or be tested weekly."
New York will step up its enforcement of the mask mandate for unvaccinated employees, de Blasio said.
"Let's be blunt. If you are a city employee and you're unvaccinated, you must wear a mask indoors at work. We will not tolerate any decision to do otherwise because this is about protecting people's health and well-being," de Blasio said.
AFSCME AFL-CIO District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido criticized the mayor's vaccine or weekly testing requirement.
"If City Hall intends to test our members weekly, they must first meet us at the table to bargain," Garrido, who leads the largest public employee union in New York City, said in a statement. "While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure our members’ health and wellbeing, weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining. New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored."
Renee Campion, commissioner of New York City's Office of Labor Relations, described mask-wearing for those who haven’t been vaccinated as "a job requirement" that the office expects "employees to comply" with, adding that if they don't, "they will not be paid."
The city issued the same requirement to city-run hospitals and clinics last week. About 60% of workers in the city’s public hospital system are vaccinated, according to the New York Times.
New COVID-19 cases are increasing throughout the United States as the delta variant continues to spread, with the mutation now responsible for more than 80% of new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier this month that preliminary data suggests that 99.5% of the people who died of COVID-19 since the start of the year were unvaccinated.
Representatives for the Office of Labor Relations did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: New York City to require city employees be vaccinated or tested weekly