These Long Islanders Are Ready To Get Fired Rather Than Get The Vaccine

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WWith their vaccination deadlines quickly approaching, some Long Islanders have said they are ready to lose their jobs and even change careers before they meet workplace mandates.

For some, resistance to getting a vaccine stems from a concern about potential health impacts or side effects. Others said it was a matter of personal choice and that the warrants made them even less inclined to get the shot.

Rob Herbst from Farmingdale, a physical education teacher at a Queens elementary school, said his bosses told him a few weeks ago that if he didn’t get at least one dose by the September 27 deadline, he would be placed in unpaid administrative service. let.

“I don’t intend to get it.

Rob Herbst, 42, from Farmingdale

Occupation: Physical education teacher at a Queens primary school

The mandate: His bosses told him that if he did not receive at least one injection by the deadline set by the city of September 27, he would be put on administrative leave without pay.

His plan: He’s appealing the denial of his religious exemption, and a Manhattan Supreme Court judge has temporarily blocked the warrant in response to a lawsuit filed by city unions.

Credit: Reece T. Williams

As he risks losing an almost 20-year career, he said that doesn’t change his mind.

“I have no intention of getting it,” said Herbst, 42, who worked at the same school for 17 years and was an educator for 19 years. “From what I understood [from the teachers’ union], we can take a year of unpaid leave but keep the health benefits. “

Ultimately, Herbst said he and his wife, who works in special education on the island and who is also unvaccinated, are ready to leave the state in search of work that won’t. will not require vaccination. He works part-time in event and party planning and said he had previously considered potential education jobs in Florida with his wife, where his event planning job also has a office.

But a Manhattan Supreme Court judge’s ruling on Tuesday night could save Herbst and other teachers in the city who refuse the vaccine time. Judge Laurence L. Love has temporarily blocked the warrant in response to a lawsuit brought by municipal unions and has set a hearing date for September 22 to hear arguments. “I hope things will change” following the legal challenge, Herbst said.

In an interview last week, he explained his objection to taking the vaccine – and having his three sons, aged 10, 12 and 17, receiving it as well. “It’s not that I’m against vaccines, but I’m for having the choice of whether to put something in my body or not,” he said. “They deployed this vaccine so quickly and there is no long term test on it.”

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Utica issued a temporary restraining order requiring the state to allow religious exemptions from his tenure as a healthcare worker.

On Wednesday, Herbst filed for a religious exemption; that was denied on Friday and he is appealing, he said. The union said teachers with religious exemptions would be placed in non-teaching roles and paid, he said on Saturday.

Herbst, who said he was raised in the Catholic religion, said he was seeking an exemption on the grounds that he believed the vaccines contained fetal cells, which he said he was not of. okay to put in his body.

None of the vaccines contain fetal cells, although the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed using clones of cell lines created decades ago from fetal tissue, according to the City of Health Department of Health. New York. Pope Francis urged Catholics to get vaccinated, and some Catholic dioceses, including the Rockville Center Diocese, have advised parishioners to take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines rather than the Johnson & Johnson one.

Franklin Square resident Nicole Sorace first told Newsday that she would give up her job rather than get the shot because the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines worried her about side effects. She also said the development of the plans was “too politically motivated”.

Nicole Sorace of Franklin Square, who works at

“I had residents who were on the verge of tears, thinking I was going to leave.”

Nicole Sorace, 41, from Franklin Square

Occupation: Event Coordinator at Maple Pointe Assisted Living in Rockville Center

The mandate: Management said if she hadn’t had her first stroke by October 7, she would have “effectively quit”.

His plan: After initially resisting, she has since received a dose of Moderna, but said she felt so bad after she would not get the second injection.

Credit: Danielle Silverman

Sorace, 41, who works as an event coordinator at Maple Pointe Assisted Living in Rockville Center, later said she decided to get the shot because “I had residents who were on the verge of tears, thinking that I was going to leave ”.

She said she felt so bad after her first dose of Moderna vaccine that she will not take the second injection.

Sorace said she didn’t know how this would affect her job. Her supervisor is checking with head office to determine her future employment status, she said Friday evening.

Several other Long Islanders contacted for this story who said they would refuse the vaccines said they did not wish to be identified for fear of repercussions on their careers.

In addition to mandates affecting federal, state and municipal employees, some private employers on Long Island have begun to implement vaccination requirements.

Labor and employment attorney Domenique Camacho Moran of Farrell Fritz law firm in Uniondale said some clients have started the process of firing employees for not meeting the vaccination deadline.

“I had a client who started the process on August 1 and on September 1 the employees had to have their first shot,” she said. “There were, I believe, two employees of this employer who were going to be made redundant. I have other clients who are in the process.”

Thousands more private sector workers on Long Island will need to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19 under a directive issued last week by President Joe Biden. He called on the Ministry of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft rules requiring companies nationwide with 100 or more employees to implement this requirement.

Jessica Baquet, chair of the labor and employment law group at Jaspan Schlesinger in Garden City, said many questions remain about how the national mandate will be implemented.

One of the main concerns for employers, she said, is the challenge of keeping up with regular weekly COVID testing of employees who choose not to be vaccinated.

“I personally think the administrative burden of testing every week is much higher than just telling people they need to get the vaccine,” Baquet said.

The number of companies covered by the Directive is relatively low given the region’s economy based on small businesses. In 2019, the island had 97,150 establishments with less than 100 employees, compared to 1,697 companies with 100 or more, according to the latest US census data available.

Wwith Tory N. Parrish

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