BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – The Massachusetts Appeals Court has temporarily paused Boston’s vaccination mandate for city employees, which was scheduled to go into effect by January 31.
The pause applies to three unions that filed a lawsuit against Mayor Michelle Wu's vaccine mandate. They include the Boston Police Superior Officer Federation (BPSOF), Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society and Boston Firefighters Union Local 718.
The order from the Court, announced Thursday, is pending review of a judicial decision made earlier this month that denied a request from three unions for a preliminary injunction.
The mandate from Mayor Michelle Wu’s office, which requires more than 18,000 Boston city workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, has been met with a strong amount of backlash from numerous unions.
Wu has pushed the compliance date for mandate back citing progress in talks with union leaders. However in a statement to WBZ NewsRadio, the BPSOF has said Wu has undermined collective bargaining and labor rights for Boston’s city employees.
“This has never been an anti-vaccine issue,” the statement read. “Mayor Wu ignored written agreements and refused to meet with unions in good faith. The unions never espoused any anti-vaccine sentiments or conspiracy theories. We voiced labor concerns.”
Per the court order, the city will not be able to enforce the vaccine mandate against workers the BPSOF represents including firefighters, police supervisors or detectives. The union also invited Mayor Wu to postpone the mandate in the wake of ongoing labor concerns.
"The policy has already helped us reach 95 percent vaccination across our City workforce, an overwhelming support for public health and the safety of our colleagues and the communities we serve," Mayor Wu's office told WBZ NewsRadio in a statement. "Vaccination is our most powerful tool in this ongoing public health emergency, and we look forward to filing our response with the court."
Wu repeatedly remains committed to the mandate despite the opposition.
“A response from the defendants to the plaintiffs' petition is requested and due on or before February 3, 2022,” the order concluded.