Federal Judge To Hear Mass. Corrections Union Suit Over Vaccine Mandate

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WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A prison workers' lawsuit to stop the state's employee vaccine mandate will get a hearing from a federal judge on Thursday. The lawsuit, brought by the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union (MCOFU) on behalf of four of their members, says the mandate violates the workers' constitutional rights.

The vaccine mandate, part of an Executive Order by Governor Charlie Baker on August 19, said all state Executive Branch workers had to be fully vaccinated by this upcoming Sunday.

In a separate publication, the union said only 47% of correction officers in the state are fully vaccinated, and that firing the other 53% would "result in an unprecedented and epic" public safety crisis.

Lawyers for the union will ask U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Hillman to issue a temporary halt on the order on Thursday afternoon.

Among other constitutional arguments, the union said that the state doesn't have just cause to fire its members, as getting a vaccine was never included in the collective bargaining agreement between the state and the union as a condition of employment.

A similar lawsuit by the State Police Association of Massachusetts was tossed out by a Superior Court judge, who sided with the Baker Administration.

In a union publication directed at its members, MCOFU admitted it was unlikely to win the lawsuit, saying "Unless we win a long-shot case in court, the state is resigned itself to fire you."

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports:

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