Leave it to Michael Mulgrew to at least figure out when he made a completely unforced error. In yesterday's statement, the UFT President claimed: "Our first priority is keeping our kids safe and the schools opened." He neglected to mention UFT members who pay dues and his salary. Well in the latest email, (see below), he has added the UFT members. It took him a while but at least he figured out who he is supposed to represent and included the members. That's progress, everyone.
On Aug. 23, the mayor announced that the city is mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all DOE employees as part of a public health intervention. Employees must have proof of the first shot of the vaccine by Sept. 27. This announcement is the first of several announcements we believe are to come about city employees being mandated for the vaccine.
With the Delta variant continuing to spread and Pfizer just announcing the full FDA approval of its vaccine, the city believes that those eligible for the vaccine must do their part to help keep our children safe.
As a union, our first priority has been keeping our kids and members safe and the schools open. New York City public school educators have led the way on this issue, with the great majority already vaccinated. We estimate that close to 80 percent of our membership is already vaccinated, so we know that as a union we have already done our part to help the city to beat this virus and protect our schools.
This decision is not up to the union. However, while the mayor is asserting his legal authority to mandate the vaccine for city employees, by law the details of this mandate must be negotiated with the UFT and other unions, and if necessary resolved by arbitration.
Religious and medical exemptions to vaccine mandates are in place in existing laws, yet we know there are other nuances and details of this mandate that will need to be worked out. Therefore, we have informed the city that we would begin impact bargaining on the issues. We will keep you informed on the details as they become available.