New York City fired 1,430 city workers on Friday for failing to comply with its vaccine mandate, a figure that represent less than 1 percent of the city’s work force, but likely the nation’s largest mass termination of municipal employees in response to a Covid vaccine mandate.
Mayor Eric Adams announced on Monday that 1,428 workers, who had already been on unpaid leave for months, were sent termination notices after they failed to receive a first dose of the vaccine. Two newer hires, who faced more stringent requirements, were also fired for failing to receive two vaccine doses. Nearly 4,000 city workers had faced a deadline of Friday to comply with the vaccine mandate.
Mr. Adams celebrated that many of the city’s 370,000 workers got vaccinated by the deadline. About 95 percent of the city’s workers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, an increase from 84 percent when the mandate was first announced in October.
“Our goal was always to vaccinate, not terminate, and city workers stepped up and met the goal placed before them,” Mr. Adams said in a statement on Monday.
Many medical experts say mandates have been effective in persuading more people to get vaccinated, which they say is essential to helping prevent the spread of the virus. Mandates at companies and elsewhere have been typically successful once implemented, including at private companies like Tyson Foods.
About 900 of the fired staff worked at the Department of Education; about 100 worked at the New York City Housing Authority, the public housing agency; 36 were from the New York Police Department.
More city workers could still face dismissal. About 9,000 additional city workers are still unvaccinated, but are seeking exemptions, or working with unions to avoid terminations.
All city workers are required to receive one dose of the vaccine. New hires must get two doses if they received a vaccine that includes a second dose. Booster shots are not required, but Mr. Adams has said he was considering the idea.
Vaccination rates among city agencies have been uneven. The Police Department and Correction Department have the lowest rates with 88 percent of workers who have received at least one dose.
Of all the city workers who were fired on Friday, only the two new hires were working last week, and more than 99 percent of new hires got vaccinated and kept their jobs, city officials said.
The city vaccine mandate for municipal workers was put in place by Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
Opponents of the mandate faced a series of legal defeats, the last being the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection on Friday of an emergency request that it consider an appeal by a group of city teachers.