Politics

Boston police union comes out against city’s vaccine mandate, says it’s ‘exploring’ legal options

A police union in Boston is seeking to push back against the city’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The union harshly criticized Boston Mayor Michelle Wu over her decision to take away the COVID-19 testing option to allow unvaccinated workers to remain in the workplace. 

“The Federation strongly condemns the City and the Mayor’s blatant disregard for and violation of our legally binding contract,” said the union in a statement. “We believe that this agreement and the City policy, which encourages vaccination and provides a rigorous testing alternative, has been effective.”

The statement continued, “We are exploring our legal options to enforce this binding agreement and our rights to represent sworn supervisors.”

A former labor agreement permitted city employees to either get fully vaccinated or agree to weekly coronavirus tests, but the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation says the agreement was gutted by the city’s administration last week. Fewer than two weeks after the original agreement was signed, Wu announced that city employees must have received the vaccination by January 15 or face termination.

The new mandate aligns with the state’s mandate that requires employees to be vaccinated, and the first Massachusetts State Police trooper was fired over the mandate last week. 

The Federation said it is not against vaccination in general, instead it is pro-collective bargaining and public safety. “We fear Mayor Wu’s unfair labor practices and disregard of negotiated contracts will have real-world negative impacts,” said the union. “Our police department, already desperately understaffed, cannot afford to lose any more police officers willing to work a dangerous job.”

In response to the union, a statement was given by a city spokesperson, which said, “As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the City has acted within its authority, and with the advice of public health officials, to require vaccination for all city workers, aligning our policy with that of the state and with public-serving employers across the country.”

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: POLICE1.COM

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