Mark Levine is a prominent New York City Democrat and Councilman who sent a tweet on Monday claiming that the group of more than 2,000 city firefighters who took sick days last week to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for city employees is being selfish.
Levine wrote that firehouses are closed “not because of the mandate,” but because of firefighters “refusing to protect themselves, their families, their colleagues, and the public.”
Multiple commenters quickly mocked Levine’s post by reminding readers that NYFD worked tirelessly through the entire pandemic and, along with other city employees, put their lives on the line every day to serve. At the same time, many people were stuck at home.
Bethany S. Mandel wrote that the “chutzpah of the City to put this on them after their service is unimaginable,” and Mark Hemingway said that “the guys that regularly run into burning buildings don’t care about the welfare of others.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) hammered Levine for calling firefighters “the bad guys here for wanting to choose for themselves without a mandate.”
NYC fire commissioner Daniel A. Nigro joined Levine in slamming firefighters who refused to accept the jab mandate meekly. He told reporters that “irresponsible bogus sick leave” is a “danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters.” Nigro said that the spike in sick leave use was because of “anger at the vaccine mandate.”
De Blasio’s mandate came into full effect on Monday following a 5 p.m. deadline for compliance last Friday. Hundreds of firefighters protested the mandate and informed the public about the coming personnel problem the department would face on Friday in front of the mayor’s house.
Immediately following De Blasio’s deadline, the city still had around 23,000 workers who had refused to comply with the order to get the jab.
Around 9,000 NYC city employees were placed on unpaid administrative leave this week for refusing to comply with the mandate. Another 12,000 employees have applied for exemptions from the mandate for medical or religious reasons. Those workers currently remain on the payroll while their applications are being reviewed. Mayor De Blasio said that he believed there are “many people” taking sick leave while they are not sick, and that is “not acceptable.”