By Ayana Harry, September 9, 2022

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Former city workers fired over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate rallied at City Hall for their jobs as several city agencies struggled with staff shortages.

Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa noted the city’s difficulty hiring and retaining staff has “weakened vital parts of our essential services.”

A report compiled by the New York City Council showed the Department of Health with a job vacancy rate of 19% and the Department of Emergency Management with a 22% job vacancy rate.

“There are labor shortages across the country,” said Barbara Dannenberg, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “New York City has not been spared.”

Councilmember Joann Ariola told PIX11 News she remains hopeful that Mayor Eric Adams will drop the vaccine mandate for municipal workers, saying, “I see that he has changed many of the mandates and repealed many of them, and it is my hope that he will continue in that direction.”

In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson told PIX11 News, “While we don’t discuss private conversations, we are always willing to sit down with elected officials and members of the community and hear their concerns. We will continue to follow the advice of the health experts to guide our response to COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

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