Rewarded for waiting? NYC teachers frustrated about new $500 vaccine incentive for city workers

Local News

NEW YORK — Many vaccinated city workers are frustrated by a new announcement that workers are now eligible to receive $500 for being vaccinated.

They’ve said they did the right thing by getting vaccinated earlier and they don’t understand why people who waited get a big payout. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said many teachers feel it’s unfair.

“I understand that the mayor is trying to get through lots of resistance, but you’ve got to treat everybody fairly,” Weingarten said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said it’s about public safety, not about playing favorites.

“It’s just about what will work to move us forward,” de Blasio said. “We’ve changed incentives over time. In the beginning, there weren’t incentives then we tried different types of incentives. This is just about getting the job done and I really want to focus on how we keep the city safe, how we save lives, how we move forward. I think this helps us do it.”

New York City first rolled out a vaccine mandate to city school teachers and employees in August. Anyone who ignored the mandate was suspended without pay. At the time, there was a $100 incentive in place for getting vaccinated, but many chose not to get the jab.

On Wednesday de Blasio announced a mandate for all New York City municipal workers, including NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters, along with the $500 incentive.

“This is out of respect for the people who’ve done so much for us,” he said about the payout. “We think this is a smart, additional action to encourage people.”

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