In turn, New York chooses coercion to vaccinate its police officers

published on Wednesday 20 October 2021 at 19:47

New York police and firefighters will have no other choice but to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to continue serving, a decision that risks causing a stir, like other major American cities .

After teachers and caregivers, all trades of some 160,000 municipal employees in New York will therefore be affected by a strict vaccination obligation, from November 1, from police to firefighters through garbage collectors.

The director of the municipal employees’ union (DC37), Henry Garrido, responded by again calling on all its members to be vaccinated, while asking the city to “sit down with us” to negotiate.

But the boss of the city’s main police union (NYCPBA), Patrick Lynch, who had supported Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in the summer of 2020, immediately vowed to take the decision of Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio to court. , “to protect the freedoms of our members”, he assured, while recalling that he was not opposed to the vaccine.

A scenario already seen in other major American cities.

In Chicago, the boss of the police union called on its 13,000 members to disobey the orders of Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who imposed vaccination or regular Covid tests on the police. In the third largest city in the United States, the union hopes to win the showdown by showing that the streets need police, amid rising crime.

A speech also heard in Boston. “Lack of staff is the biggest threat to public safety today,” Massachusetts State Police Association president Michael Cherven said Monday at a press conference. deploring the already insufficient staff, even though he agreed that 85% of the members of his organization were vaccinated.

– 500 dollars –

Since the start of the pandemic, Covid-19 has been the main cause of death “in service” of police officers in the United States, with 237 deaths from the coronavirus in 2021, against 50 by firearms, out of a total of 369.

In New York, nearly 71% of all police personnel (55,000 officers, including nearly 35,000 in uniform) have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the NYPD told AFP on Wednesday. A figure well below the total adult population (84%), but up since September, when it stood at 61% among police officers.

Until now, the police or the New York firefighters had the choice between the vaccine or the regular presentation of a negative test for Covid. The town hall highlights that the strict obligation has increased the rate of vaccinated to more than 95% among teachers and caregivers in the city.

Kneeling in 2020, with its images of overwhelmed hospitals and improvised morgues, the great cultural and economic capital of the eastern United States (nearly 9 million inhabitants) already requires the vaccine to enter restaurants , cinemas, or gyms, even outdoor shows.

But “there are still a lot of employees in the city who are not vaccinated (around 46,000 out of 160,000). I want to protect them. I want to protect their families” and “everyone they come into contact with in the city”, assured Bill de Blasio, on CNN Wednesday morning.

To motivate the most hesitant, the town hall promises a bonus of 500 dollars on their payslip for municipal officials who will receive their first dose before October 29. But after this period, the recalcitrant will see their remuneration suspended.

The only exception are prison wardens, for whom the obligation is postponed to December 1, because of staffing problems at Rikers Island prison, where the deterioration of detention conditions is constantly pointed out.

Compulsory vaccination remains a sensitive subject in the United States, between Democrats and Republicans. In Texas, the second most populous state in the country with its 29 million inhabitants, far from imposing it, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has banned all entities, including private companies, from making vaccination compulsory.

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