The union representing the Massachusetts Correction Officers is seeking a preliminary injunction in Federal Court Thursday to block Gov. Charlie Baker from enforcing his COVID-19 vaccine mandate for executive branch employees.
The deadline for correction officers to show proof of vaccination is Sunday, Oct. 17, but the union has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Baker's vaccine policy. The State Police Association of Massachusetts lost a similar lawsuit in state Superior Court.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Hillman will preside over the virtual hearing at 3:15 p.m. Hillman was appointed to the federal bench in 2012 by President Obama, and sits in the Worcester division of the district court.
Initially, more than 800 people were suspended without pay Tuesday, but the number of people out of compliance dropped as more employees verified their vaccination or provided a negative test result, Mayor Kim Janey said.
“The number is getting smaller and smaller by the day, which is a testament to all the work that our team is doing to make sure that folks have access to the testing," Janey said. "Folks certainly can choose to get vaccinated, that is the goal. We want to protect our workers and we want to protect the public that we serve, so we can continue to work to ensure compliance with this mandate.”
Janey announced in August a COVID vaccine policy for all city employees requiring them to verify their vaccination status or get tested weekly. The plan was being been phased in since September. The remaining city employees and contractors have until Oct. 18 to comply.