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Boston, Massachusetts – The vaccine mandate for city employees in Boston has been temporarily halted by an appeals court judge in response to a lawsuit brought by labor unions representing first responders against the city of Boston.
The decision grants a stay to termination of their jobs which affects approximately 450 city employees who are not up to date on their vaccinations.
Mayor Michelle Wu’s mandate, announced in December, requires all 19,000 city employees to be vaccinated. It was originally scheduled to take effect on Jan. 15, 2022, but was delayed due to budgetary constraints in January. The mayor’s office and the city’s labor unions have been in a constant state of back and forth for quite some time.
The suit was originally filed by three unions: the Massachusetts Superior Officer Federation, the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, and the Boston Firefighters Union Local 718, who allege that the mandate violates a provision of collective bargaining law and the terms of their collective bargaining agreements.
Boston First Responders United, a coalition of city workers who were opposed to the mandate, applauded the decision and pledged to continue their opposition.
The decision by Justice Sabita Singh of the Massachusetts Appeals Court Association on Tuesday temporarily prevents the vaccine mandate from taking effect and prevents these union workers from being fired for failing to comply with the mandate. Instead of being immunized, they will be able to return to their jobs and undergo routine testing while waiting for the vaccine to become available.
The unions that represent first responders in court are rejoicing in their victory in the ongoing battle against the city’s vaccine mandate, which they believe will continue.
The injunction issued on Tuesday will remain in effect until the case is resolved.
On the same day, Boston’s third phase of its “B Together” vaccine plan for indoor venues went into effect, requiring residents 12 years and older to show proof of a complete vaccination record before entering.
The move meets other actions moving around the Nation recently in what seems counterintuitive to Union and Agency leadership. Strikes in retaliation from inside their own Unions have been working against each other as workers and leadership seem to be split themselves. Boston is Marty Walsh’s hometown where he was a Union leader and the City’s Mayor. He and OSHA have held strong stances on mandates, enforcement. Being met with a slew of backlash and legal battles the past few months it will be telling to see if a pivot is in order.
Lawsuits filed by the AGC, other construction industry and business groups and employers, as well as attorneys general from 26 states, followed federal mandates quickly.
In response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that temporarily halted the vaccine-or-test emergency standard—with the conservative court majority questioning President Joe Biden’s stated authority to issue such a broad mandate in the workplace—OSHA and the U.S. Labor Department withdrew the emergency standard but also began the rulemaking process for a permanent federal regulation.
Canada has been dealing with their own bouts recently with the recent Truckers convoys and transportation gridlock that has been affecting traffic and supply chains.