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Rehire NYC workers who refused the vax: Doing right will help us all

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/23/2023 Peter J. Pitts

On the very rare occasions I got into playground fights, the teacher always said the same thing: “It’s over. Shake hands.”

And that was basically that. No therapy. No sensitivity training. No lawsuits.

We need to adopt the same attitude to the dedicated New York City public servants who opted not to get vaccinated during the pandemic.

“It’s over. Shake hands.” And rehire them immediately with back pay.

It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.

It’s right because we are all victims of COVID-19 even if we never contracted the virus — wherever it came from.

And it’s the smart thing to do because, let’s be honest, we need all the help we can get fighting crime, fighting fires, fighting to help get our city back on its feet.

© Provided by New York Post City workers who refused to get the vaccine were axed in 2021. MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Mayor Eric Adams: You didn’t institute the policy. You can afford to be magnanimous.

Union chiefs: This isn’t a wedge issue. Do the right thing. Stand next to Hizzoner at the press conference. Suck it up and say, “Thank you.” It’s over. Shake hands.

Making everyone whole helps everyone. We waste more tax dollars on less important things.

see also © Provided by New York Post ‘Face blindness’ linked to COVID-19: ‘My dad’s voice came out of a stranger’

Maybe the city can repay itself through a portion of the coming congestion tax. Call it the “Municipal Reconciliation Tax,” and New Yorkers will like it a lot better than just shoveling more money into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority money pit. (Commuters from outer boroughs and out of state won’t be quite as enthusiastic, but you can’t make everyone happy.)

Anyone who thinks it was an ill-considered decision to lose your career (not just a “job” for New York’s Bravest and Finest) over vaccination status hasn’t ever lost his or her job because of a principle.

As my father used to say, “It’s not a principle until it hurts.”

Now think about them apprehending the guy who beat up the old man in front of the deli or pulling a baby from a burning building. Cliché? I got news for you — it happens all the time.

It’s over. Shake hands.

© Provided by New York Post Anthony Fauci has been criticized over his mask mandate policies. AFP via Getty Images

Wearing masks? Tony Fauci? Don’t get me started. Like they say on the bus, “Please respect other riders’ choices.” It’s over. Shake hands.

You don’t get rich working for the city, and it’s not easy work. For many, it’s family tradition.

You’ve got issues with the bureaucracy? Don’t be a Karen. We’ve got bigger problems like Ukraine and Chinese spy balloons, inflation and Edwin Díaz. It’s over. Shake hands.

The other path, the one more frequently taken these days, leads to continued finger-pointing and unhelpful recriminations that eat up time and the spending of sparse tax dollars on, of all things, lawyers.

Jeez. We can do better. If we learn nothing else from the pandemic experience, it’s that when we pull together, we can accomplish great things despite help from government.

Rehire all the city workers who stood up for their principles (whether you agree or not). They all deserve back pay. And they deserve our respect. All of them.

Mr. Mayor, it’s over. Shake hands. Do the right thing.

Peter J. Pitts, a former Food and Drug Administration associate commissioner, is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.


New York Post

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