NY moves closer to pre-Covid life as city workers return
A group of city officials are planning to march from City Hall to Washington Square Park on Sunday to request the city postpone a full return to office until January, develop a robust teleworking policy, and establish a long-distance option for students.
Henry Garrido, executive director of the city’s largest public union, District Council 37, said he had repeatedly asked the mayor to postpone the return to work date but has not yet received a response. As the city moves forward, his union will examine its legal options, he said.
New York isn’t the first city to order workers to return to the office full-time. The city of Houston, which has 22,000 office workers, brought her back full-time over the summer, according to Mary Benton, a city spokeswoman. Chicago’s 5,500 office workers returned to the office five days a week in the late spring, with a few exceptions from teleworking.
New York State employees were due to return to the office full-time earlier this week, but Governor Kathy Hochul has postponed that until October 12; The state’s 130,000 workers have to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
Mr Garrido said he was concerned about workers’ ability to observe social distancing and did not understand the need to bring people who perform well back to the office while they are working from home.
“For me this is crazy,” said Mr Garrido in an interview. “Because at this point there is a new reality.”
Harry Nespoli, chairman of the municipal labor committee, an umbrella organization of unions that includes uniformed personnel, said his organization met with city officials last Wednesday and warned them that if the mayor imposes a more robust vaccine mandate that does not include a testing option, it would take legal action.