NYC correction officers sue over deBlasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, work conditions

The union representing New York City correction officers, the department known as the city’s “boldest,” took a stand Wednesday against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “draconian” vaccine mandate and subsequent dangerous work conditions by filing a lawsuit against the city demanding that the jab policy be halted.

Benny Boscio Jr., the head of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, told the New York Post that hundreds of correction officers were sent home last week and placed on unpaid leave for not rolling up their sleeves for the jab. The problem is compounded because 1,4000 other officers have resigned or retired since 2019, the report said.

The entrance to Rikers Island. There have been stafffing shortages at the jail and critics say the COVID-19 vaccine mandate has just exacerbated the problem. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Boscio said the city has tried to compensate for the shortfall. Officers have been forced to work 60-hour weeks, which he said is a safety concern because inmates “feed on their vulnerabilities.”

FILE: Correction officers Union President Benny Boscio Jr. speaks to media. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

FILE: Correction officers Union President Benny Boscio Jr. speaks to media. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“This practice is treating us like slave labor and it will only result in officers getting sick or injured by assaultive inmates, who feed on their vulnerabilities,” he told the paper.

Residents wait in line at a Covid-19 vaccination site in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York.  Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Residents wait in line at a Covid-19 vaccination site in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York.  Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The deadline for jail workers to be vaccinated was delayed a month because of existing staffing shortages. Workers who haven’t applied for an exemption and failed to show proof of vaccination by 5 p.m. last Tuesday were to be placed on unpaid leave and surrender any city-issued firearms and protective gear.

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The city did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News. 

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The city Law Department told the Post that they are “grateful for every officer who has gotten vaccinated. We’re confident the mandate and the 12 hour shifts will be upheld by the court.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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