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Thousands of NYC teachers, firefighters, and cops to lose jobs today because of vaccine mandate

  Thousands of municipal workers in New York City could lose their jobs Friday as Mayor Eric Adams will enforce the COVID-19 vaccine mandate...

 Thousands of municipal workers in New York City could lose their jobs Friday as Mayor Eric Adams will enforce the COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline set by his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.

The city has said about 3,000 of the New York's 370,000 or so teachers, firefighters, cops, and other workers are not currently in compliance with the controversial mandate and will be terminated at end of the day if they do not get the jab.

Groups representing city workers have protested for their jobs and filed legal challenges against the mandate, but Adams has been unmoved by their appeals.

“We have to be very clear — people must be vaccinated if they are New York City employees,” the mayor said at a news conference Thursday. “Everyone understood that.”

“We are not firing them,” he insisted. “People are quitting. The responsibility is clear.”

“I want them to stay, I want them to be employees of the city, but they have to follow the rules,” he added.

City officials have touted the vaccine mandate as a success, noting that 95% of the municipal workforce has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, up from 84% when the madate was first announced in October.

Unions representing various parts of the city's workforce formed a coalition and sued to block the mass firings. But a judge on Thursday ruled in favor of the city, which has argued that losing nearly 3,000 workers won't affect city services because these workers have been on unpaid leave since November.

But some of those workers take offense to what they're hearing from the city.

"The city wants to deny that there's irreparable harm. But there's a lot of harm," said a NYC school guidance counselor who spoke with TheBlaze. She asked to remain anonymous because she's involved in a lawsuit against the vaccine mandate, fighting to keep her job.

"Kids are seeing their parents not going to work. People defaulting on their mortgages. Anxiety, stress, there's emotional damage the city isn't acknowledging," she told TheBlaze.

Though the city is offering employees the opportunity to apply for a religious or medical exemption, some workers say they've been unable to have their exemption requests approved.

John De Luca, 47, is a teacher in the Bronx. He co-founded a group called Educators for Freedom, which is raising money to protect education workers from being fired for their religious convictions. He told TheBlaze that his own personal application for a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate was denied on the grounds that it would cause an "undue hardship."

"I think people are fed up with all this stuff. This is just crazy," De Luca said. "Where are our rights? Where did they go? Don't we live in the United States of America?"

De Luca provided TheBlaze with a copy of an arbitration agreement reached between the Board of Education of the City School District of New York and the United Federation of Teachers, the city's largest teachers' union. The agreement provides that educators seeking a religious exemption to the mandatory vaccination policy must provide written documentation from clergy explaining why the exemption is needed.

"Requests shall be denied where the leader of the religious organization has spoken publicly in favor of the vaccine, where the documentation is readily available ... or where the objection is personal, political, or philosophical in nature," the agreement states. "Exemption requests shall be considered for recognized and established religious organizations (e.g. Christian Scientists)."

De Luca criticized the city for being slow to approve religious exemption requests.

"Let us practice our religious beliefs. Please let us come back to work and let us practice our religious beliefs. Do not fire us. Do not terminate us," he said. "We are human beings with flesh and blood and we deserve to have our jobs. We should not be fired over our beliefs in God."

City officials have said they won't know exactly how many workers will be fired until after Friday's deadline passes. City officials have suggested that the actual number of terminated employees may be lower than 3,000, as some may decide to get vaccinated before Friday's deadline.

But De Luca pointed out that would mean some may violate their religious consciences to feed their families.

"People haven't been paid in four months and they are having difficulty affording lawyers," he said.

To De Luca and the others, it seems like New York is telling them their rights aren't respected and their services aren't wanted in their city.

"Isn't that like telling you to get out of here?" he asked. "That's not American."

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