BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The deadline for many state workers in Massachusetts to prove that they have received a COVID-19 shot has arrived. State workers in the executive branch need to prove they have been fully vaccinated by Sunday, or they face suspension without pay or firing.
The mandate had spurred lawsuits from at least two law enforcement unions, both of which failed.
The first lawsuit, brought by the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM), was tossed by a Superior Court judge who said the public interest outweighed the union's request for an alternative to the mandate.
Another suit brought against the state by the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union (MCOFU) argued that the union's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the state didn't include getting vaccinated as a condition of employment — that lawsuit was thrown out by a federal judge on Friday on similar grounds to the State Police's lawsuit.
The union responded to the decision on Friday, saying it knew the lawsuit was going to be an uphill battle and that it was still going over its legal options.
Governor Baker's office did include an option for a religious or medical exemption to the vaccine in his August executive order, though according to WBZ's Karyn Regal, some Department of Corrections employees have had their exemptions revoked. The exemptions were due by October 8.
According to the Baker Administration, more than 40,000 of the 44,000 employees covered by the mandate have either attested to their vaccination or applied for an exemption.
As recently as October 6, MCOFU said only 48% of the DOC's corrections officers were fully vaccinated.
The state police union had said that "dozens" of its members were considering resigning as a result of the mandate. Union spokesman Chris Keohan told WBZ NewsRadio he believed more than 85% of the union's membership was fully vaccinated, and that at least 150 State Police employees would resign because of the mandate.
State Police Spokesman David Procopio did not specify a number of employees resigning, but said that "the Department has plans in place to deploy personnel as needed to ensure continued police services and protection of public safety."
The governor's office is telling workers to return to the office on Monday unless explicitly told not to come in.
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports: