"Many of the unions support and urge their members to be vaccinated. However, the city is required to collectively bargain the steps to be taken for implementing this policy," said Harry Nespoli, chair of the Municipal Labor Committee.
His group is filing an unfair labor practices complaint over the new directive.
"Our members’ bargaining rights in this situation must be preserved. We are willing to discuss the steps for implementation as well as situations where accommodations would be appropriate," Nespoli said in the statement released just a few hours after de Blasio announced the new policy.
All 148,000 Department of Education workers, including people who are employed in the DOE’s central offices and contractors who work in schools, will be required to have at least one shot by Sept. 27, the mayor said at his daily press briefing Monday morning.
De Blasio said he’d implement the policy with or without the support of unions. But Nespoli threatened Monday afternoon that "unilateral action by the city will only lead to a delay in the implementation of a policy that is designed to protect the public and its employees."
Henry Garrido, head of District Council 37 that represents school crossing guards, lunch aides, and other DOE staff, said he does not believe the city has the legal authority "to change the terms and conditions of employment without bargaining."
City Hall spokesman Bill Neidhardt noted that "the city has already agreed to bargain on the impact of this vaccine mandate. But more importantly, the New York City Department of Health has the clear legal authority to mandate vaccination as the Delta variant rises and more Americans are dying."
De Blasio hinted Monday that he may soon require all city workers to get vaccinated as opposed to the current policy of getting the shot or weekly testing.