The Boston Herald is reporting that city work vaccine mandate issued by Mayor Michelle Wu can move forward.
Suffolk Superior Judge Jeffrey Locke ruled on Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society and Boston Firefighters Union Local 718 against the City of Boston. Locke, siding with the city, stated that the public-health concerns outweighed the collective-bargaining rights of the three public-safety unions. He also denied the request to stop the January 15th start of the Covid-19 vaccination requirement.
Back in December, Mayor Wu announced that in addition to require vaccination in certain indoor spaces in Boston, including indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment establishments, it would also require vaccination of all city employees on the same timeline (January 15 for first dose and February 15 for the second dose), unless granted a reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons. This was an update of the previous policy, which allowed for an option for city workers to be regularly tested instead of being vaccinated.
The city will begin to place workers on unpaid leave if they haven’t received at least one coronavirus vaccine.
Locke heard both sides of the lawsuit. The city argued the mandate is necessary due to the current outbreak of the omicron variant. The three public-safety unions sued to stop the implementation of the mandate stating the city had skipped over important negotiating steps in collective bargaining.
The unions also pointed out the “conditions on the ground haven’t changed so much to warrant the change from the previously negotiated plan.” That plan allowed city employees to provide proof of a negative test every week instead of getting the vaccination.
In the end, Locke sided with the city and their argument of public health concerns. You can read the full article here.