Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday known as for Gov. Kathy Hochul to require that MTA workers be vaccinated towards COVID-19, as he declared New York City’s inoculation mandates have supplied “absolute proof” they’re efficient.
“Gov. Hochul, here is an opportunity to do something that will really help New York City: Put a mandate in place for MTA employees. It’s time to do it,” he mentioned throughout a digital press briefing. “We need them to be vaccinated, for the safety of each other and their families, their communities, for the safety of their passengers.”
“It’s worked with a New York City workforce, it can work for the MTA as well,” he added. “We have absolute proof that this effort worked, and it had a tremendously helpful impact on fighting back COVID.”
De Blasio’s vaccine mandate for almost all municipal staff went into impact in the beginning of November, prompting important numbers of metropolis workers to get their shot in addition to the short-term shuttering of some fireplace firms due to FDNY members taking sick depart and never getting their photographs.
Currently, 94 p.c of Big Apple staff are vaccinated, following a 17 p.c bounce within the NYPD’s vaccination charge and a 32 p.c enhance amongst FDNY medics because the Oct. 20 announcement of the coverage, in accordance to the mayor. Ninety-one p.c of the FDNY has obtained at the least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The MTA’s roughly 70,000 workers, 80 p.c of whom are inoculated, are at present topic to a weekly-test-or-vaccine rule, which took impact in October, although the state-run company shouldn’t be checking every employee’s check outcomes.
Asked by a reporter whether or not he was on the “same page” as Hochul given his combative relationship with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio insisted the request for a vaccine requirement was in step with “collegiality” between him and the state’s new chief government.
“It is night and day compared to what I experienced previously. I respect the governor, we communicate well, we work well together, and what I’m calling for here is with an atmosphere and feeling of respect and collegiality,” he mentioned.
“We proved the mandate could work. I think the governor does care deeply about getting us out of the COVID era,” he went on. “I’m saying, ‘Look, here’s a way to get something done that will really help the city turn the page, and we’ll work together, for sure.”
In response, Hochul touted the MTA workforce’s low COVID-19 positivity charge and virus precautions in addition to her “good relationship” with de Blasio — however signaled she wouldn’t associate with his vaccine requirement push.
“I want everyone to know that I am proud of the workers of the MTA, four out of five workers are vaccinated and those who are not are required to test every week. And you know what our infection rate is here at the MTA? [It’s] .6 percent — half of what it is for the city of New York,” she advised reporters after a tour of the Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 tunnels. “They put on their masks, they socially distance, they’re doing good to this point.
“So I appreciate the advice that’s coming our way. That’s fine,” the governor continued. “We have a good relationship. But if we have a problem, I’ll address it, but we’re doing an outstanding job.”
Earlier, MTA performing Chairman Janno Lieber brushed apart the mayor’s proposal, lamenting feedback he considered as “poking at” Hochul, whereas insisting the company is “confident” in its prevailing pandemic-related insurance policies.
“We are taking an approach that is going to maximize our ability to put on service — not to chase away employees and to get into ideological debates,” he advised reporters. “I had the misapprehension we had moved into an era where the city and the state were collaborating and weren’t necessarily poking at each other about vaccination and ideological issues.”
“But whatever anybody says, our job is to put on transit, provide maximum services, get our customers back, to keep our workforce safe,” Lieber added. “We have achieved what I think is a very safe system, and [a] very high level of rider confidence without doing that, and we’re putting on service and we’re growing our services. So that’s the choice we made, and we’re confident about it.”
The head of the transportation workers union took a shot at de Blasio, whose tenure in City Hall concludes on the finish of the 12 months.
“The MTA’s unionized workforce and millions of transit riders are grateful this Thanksgiving that Mayor de Blasio does not run the subway and bus system — and is finally heading out the door,” mentioned TWU President Tony Utano. “The current system in which transit workers have a choice to be vaccinated or be regularly tested is working while we continue to educate and urge members to get the shot.”
De Blasio’s nudge comes as he has lately taken steps towards launching a longshot bid to beat out Hochul within the 2022 Democratic main. State Attorney General Letitia James, who final month introduced her entry into the gubernatorial race, ripped the “state government” over the weekend for its dealing with of excessive ranges of coronavirus circumstances in pockets of the Empire State.
“State government is failing to act to address the COVID crisis in some of the most vulnerable communities in New York,” learn the assertion, issued Saturday, which notably omitted Hochul’s identify. “Anything short of bold action is unacceptable.”
Asked Tuesday morning about James’ assertion, de Blasio caught to speaking up his personal proposal.
“I respect the governor. I just call upon her to use mandates in a way that will save lives and help us get out of the COVID era and the obvious first place to do that is the MTA. It’s a big workforce, it’s 70,000 people that come in close contact with all New Yorkers,” he mentioned. “That’s a great place to start. I would say if there’s any other elements of the workforce that the governor can reach, the mandates make sense.”