New York’s Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul did not waste any time showing her authoritarian aspirations after taking over for the disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo.
All education employees and state healthcare workers are now entirely subject to the vaccine mandate imposed in Albany. Hochul has now announced that employees fired for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate will be further punished. They will have the state unemployment benefits they have paid for through payroll deductions denied.
That announcement came just two days before the deadline for compliance with the mandate. The only exception for terminated workers would be submitting a “valid, doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.”
Certainly, Hochul’s proclamation that unemployment will be denied to disobedient workers will be challenged in the courts. That is cold comfort to employees who are finding themselves thrown out of work this week with no short-term hope of unemployment benefits in the meantime.
The announcement comes as total cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in New York City are declining.
Hochul has also said that the state will not recognize claims for exemption from the mandate for religious reasons. She stated that “leaders of all the organized religions” said there is no reason for an exemption.
Hochul’s legal basis for abolishing religious exemptions is an informal survey of “the leaders of all the organized religions.” That’s not how religious rights work. https://t.co/AC16qE4plP
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 27, 2021
The school workers in New York City have obtained a temporary restraining order against the mandate, with an appeals court ruling expected as soon as this week. The restraining order does not apply to workers outside of New York City who are immediately required to comply with the mandate or be fired.
The governor said that she plans to cover the potential shortage of qualified hospital workers due to the vaccine mandate. She will issue an executive order declaring a “state of emergency” to hire new workers. It would allow the state to bring in licensed workers in other states, retirees, and recent graduates not yet licensed to work in New York.
Hochul said that she was also considering bringing in members of the National Guard who had received some medical training.
Many commentators note how rapidly the state government had moved to declare frontline healthcare workers, who were essential in combating the pandemic, as unfit members of a vital workforce when it was at its height.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said that the governor showed a “massive failure” with her announced approach for enforcing the employee mandate.
As usual, the citizens of New York will be the ultimate losers, along with state workers, due to poorly conceived and executed government mandates.