PROVIDENCE — The labor union that represents the city’s fire fighters released a statement Wednesday that claimed the department could lose 10 percent of its workforce if the state health department does not reconsider its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The state previously announced that frontline workers would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to Oct. 1, or risk losing their job.
International Association of Fire Fighters Local 799 said that the same employees who worked throughout the pandemic will lose their jobs, and the rest will be “forced to work more hours.”
“And the fire department will be worse off than any day before the mandate,” read the statement, which was posted on their Facebook page.
The union called on the state health department to allow for unvaccinated workers to continue surveillance testing past the Oct. 1 deadline.
“Without an allowance for continued testing, the Providence Fire Department stands to lose 10 percent of its workforce leading to burdensome hours for the remaining firefighters and costly overtime payments for taxpayers,” read the statement. “Even the most well intentioned policies have consequences, it is our duty to say that the consequences of this mandate will cause undue hardship on the very firefighters that protected us.”
Union President Derek Silva could not be immediately reached for comment.