Governor Rejects NYC Mayor’s Call for MTA Worker Vaccine Mandate
(Bloomberg) -- Governor Kathy Hochul indicated a vaccine mandate was unlikely for Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for one similar to what’s required for all city employees.
“I appreciate the advice that’s coming our way. That’s fine,” the governor said. “If we had a problem, I’d address it, but we’re doing an outstanding job.”
De Blasio has been pushing for vaccinations as the city and state confront a rise in Covid-19 cases with the weather turning colder and people spending more time indoors. However, the MTA has seen a shortage of subway operators this year, which could make a mandate challenging. The state-controlled agency, which is responsible for city public transportation, is still recovering from a hiring freeze during the pandemic when ridership plummeted.
“We need them to be vaccinated for the safety of each other and their families, their communities, for the safety of the passengers,” de Blasio said at a briefing Tuesday. “It’s worked for the New York City workforce, it can work for the MTA as well.”
In New York City, 94% of municipal workers have been vaccinated including 87% of police officers, 89% of firefighters, 93% of emergency medical services and 88% of sanitation workers.
In response, Hochul said in a briefing Tuesday afternoon the MTA infection rate was 0.6%, half of what it is in the city. Additionally, four in five MTA workers are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t are required to test every week, she said. “They wear their masks, they social distance and they’re doing what’s right.”
In recent weeks, de Blasio has taken steps hinting at a possible run for governor. If he were to officially join the 2022 Democratic primary, he would face off against Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
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