“I always feel that I’m in the company of some really kickass, strong people that are very brave. Even though they’ve lost everything, they’re still fighting. It’s not just me and my little group of people. There are other people out there that are in the same position that I am—probably thousands. Millions, maybe.” - Shellie
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In this episode of the New York Mandate Podcast, I talk with Shellie. She’s a hair and makeup artist who works in the film and television industry, as well as a vocalist and song writer.
She was barred from working by both entertainment industry COVID-19 vaccine mandates and New York City’s mandate for private sector workers, and she recently left New York City and moved to New Jersey with her son.
Shellie talked with me about how unvaccinated workers were labelled and stigmatized before the mandates barred them from working, the lack of union support and legal recourse she encountered, and how back-to-back work shortages caused by pandemic shutdowns, mandates, and strikes have affected her life.
We also talked about what it was like to be a parent during the period of remote schooling in New York City. Shellie’s son joined our conversation to talk about his experience with remote schooling and how things are going for him now. We spoke just before the new school year began.
More from Shellie:
You can get in touch with Shellie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shellie’s Cash App: $Shellieb
Here are some links related to things we talked about during the episode:
Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Improve State Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
On December 22, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation making falsification of COVID-19 vaccination cards a class D felony and creating a new E felony of computer tampering in the third degree for intentional entering, alteration, or destruction of "computer material" regarding COVID-19 vaccine provisions. Over the next year, 15 people were arrested and prosecuted for felony offenses related to falsified documents, including 13 who purchased fake cards.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE)
This union represents over 168,000 workers in theater, motion picture, and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts, as well as equipment and construction shops that support the entertainment industry.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
The AFL-CIO is the largest union federation in the United States, comprising 60 national and international labor unions. It is a major lobbying and political organization.
Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on December 13, 2021 requiring all workers in New York City who work in a workplace or interact with other workers or the public to be vaccinated. It went into effect on December 27, 2021, covering nearly all private-sector workers in New York City, and was lifted on November 1, 2022.
Mandatory Vaccinations On Productions An Option Under Return-To-Work Protocols – Update
This July 2021 article in Deadline reports on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the entertainment industry.
About the New York Mandate Podcast
The New York Mandate Podcast is an ongoing series of conversations exploring the costs and consequences of vaccine mandates in New York City. I talk with workers, students, and parents who have been directly affected by the mandates, as well as legal and policy experts.
In late 2021, the City introduced a series of requirements for workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place through executive orders issued by the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio. They covered nearly all workers in New York City, in both the public and private sectors. They also barred unvaccinated adults, including parents, from schools.
Current mayor Eric Adams kept the mandates in place until November 1, 2022 for the private sector and February 10, 2023 for City workers, and has encouraged private employers to put their own vaccine requirements in place.
The views expressed in the New York Mandate podcast are the personal opinions of the people speaking, and are not intended to provide medical or legal advice.
Join the Conversation
Have you lost your job, been put on leave, or lost opportunities to work as an independent contractor as a result of your decision not to comply with a vaccine mandate in New York? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at NYMpodcast@protonmail.com.