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Why police, firefighters are fighting vaccine mandates

October 31, 2021


Friday, October 29, was the deadline for all New York City government workers to get at least one COVID vaccine dose or go on unpaid leave. It could mean several thousand officers may have to stay home as early as Monday, November 1. In New York and other cities around the country, some of the loudest opposition voices belong to police union officials.

Key terms:

labor union: an organization formed to improve wages, hours, and working conditions for employees within the workplace via collective bargaining (talks with management) to secure a working contract. Unions negotiate directly with employers on the workers’ behalf and are funded by its members’ union dues.

Five Facts

  • Who has most aggressively pushed back against city worker vaccine mandates?
  • What are police unions?
  • When will some New York City workers including police and fire fighters be shut out of work if they refuse to get vaccinated?
  • Why are some cities pushing vaccine mandates for city workers despite the resistance?
  • How might city services be affected by city workers’ refusal to get the vaccine mandate?

Focus Questions

What do you think is the best way for city leaders to encourage workers to get vaccinated? Do you think it’s important for city workers that come in contact with the public to be vaccinated?

Media literacy: Did this story make it clear why both the city leaders and police unions were taking the positions that they are? Who else will be impacted by these decisions, and do you think they should have been interviewed?

For More

See this story for more on the debate around mandating vaccines.


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