NEW YORK — In a stunning defeat for unions representing municipal workers, a judge ruled on Wednesday that New York City can proceed with an order requiring teachers to get at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday or lose their jobs.
The judge’s ruling also gave the go-ahead for the city to require all of its other employees to have their first dose of vaccine by Monday or to get tested weekly.
The order from New York State Supreme Court Justice Laurence Love vacated a temporary restraining order the judge had signed a week earlier, which had put the city’s plan on hold until a hearing was held Wednesday afternoon.
Attorneys representing city workers argued that the vaccination mandate, issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio in July, didn’t take into account personal situations for teachers and other city employees who prefer not to be vaccinated.
The city’s attorneys countered with an argument that the mandate meets a requirement for the city to protect all of its workers.
The judge concluded that the city’s argument was strong enough to lift the temporary restraining order.
Justice Love will further rule on the lawsuit early next week, but his decision on Wednesday indicated that all 75,000 DOE teachers will have to be vaccinated by Monday, and that the 250,000 other municipal workers will have to be vaccinated by Monday or get tested weekly.
Municipal Labor Committee Chair Harry Nespoli released a statement in response to the judge’s ruling, saying their fight is not yet over.
“This case has already led to progress in protecting the rights of our members, since the city – in the wake of the court’s initial issuance of the restraining order –admitted that there can be exceptions to the vaccine mandate. The court — while lifting the restraining order — has not made a final decision, and we are preparing additional material to support our case,” Nespoli said.