NEW YORK — The union representing more than 8,500 correction officers is suing New York City in an attempt to block the city’s vaccine mandate forcing them to get the shot.

Correction department workers had until Nov. 30 to meet the vaccination deadline or risk being suspended without pay, amidst an ongoing staffing crisis at city jails like Rikers Island.

COBA President Benny Boscio Jr. spoke with the PIX11 Morning News on Friday, Dec. 10 about the lawsuit, what’s next and why the mandate for his officers was like pouring “gasoline on a fire.”

The union head said they were hoping to get back the weekly COVID testing measures, in place of the vaccine mandate.

Boscio said that as of Friday, about 80% of uniformed correction officers were vaccinated. About 83% of the total department was vaccinated as of Dec. 3, but has likely risen since.