New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates are creating labor shortages in important services in all five boroughs. One such shortage has turned the city into a stinking mess — literally.
Garbage is piling up in parts of the city after the Nov. 1 deadline for Sanitation Department workers to get vaccinated came and went, Breitbart reported. Even officials couldn’t deny there was a “gap” in the usual service that picks up 12,000 tons of trash on a normal day.
Currently, 17% of the city’s sanitation workers remain unvaccinated and are now in violation of the mandate, according to WABC-TV. Some of them protested the mandate at the Sanitation Department’s Richmond Avenue facility in Staten Island.
“We’re being forced to do something against our will,” Michael Cancelleri, one of the city’s veteran sanitation workers, told the news outlet. “I’m scared I’m going to lose a job that I love more than anything, a job that puts food on our table, on my family’s table,” Cancelleri said. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave for the first time in his 17-year career.
The workers were staging what’s known as a work slowdown rather than a full-on strike, the New York Post reported. They spend time returning to the garage to refuel or pick up gloves and therefore don’t complete their pickup schedule.
It’s not that the workers are against any measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In fact, many had already been forced to submit to weekly testing and request the right to go back to that instead.
“I’ll tell you straight out: I disagree with the mandate because of one reason,” Harry Nespoli, president of the Teamsters Local 831 which represents sanitation workers, told the Post. “We have a program in place right now in the department, which is, you get the vaccination or you get tested once a week.”
The activism and work slowdown eventually paid off as Mayor Bill de Blasio reached an agreement with some unions, including the Local 831, on Thursday, NBC News reported. Workers who have applied for their exemption may now be kept on the job and on the payroll until their exemption is processed as long as they’re tested weekly.
De Blasio and many other politicians are decimating America’s most vital occupations with these mandates. The good news is that tactics to pushback are having some effect — and city streets are cleaner for it now.