Union members representing the Massachusetts State Police are in Suffolk Superior Court for a hearing Wednesday after filing a lawsuit over the governor’s vaccine mandate for state workers.
Gov. Charlie Baker issued an executive order last month to require everyone who works for Massachusetts' Executive Department, which includes state police, provide proof that they've been vaccinated by mid-October.
Anyone who isn't vaccinated and doesn't have an exemption for medical or religious reasons approved by Oct. 17 will face disciplinary action, which may include being fired, the Baker administration said.
In their lawsuit, the State Police Association asks that members who already had coronavirus or who do not want to get the shot receive weekly testing and wear masks.
The Massachusetts State Police union says the governor needs to bargain with them first before issuing a sweeping mandate. And that is why the issue is going before a judge.
The attorney for the State Police Union did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Asked about the suit Wednesday, Baker said he thinks the two sides will be able to work things out.
"One of the reasons we made the decision to move forward with the vaccine mandate for executive branch employees was because of the amount of time a lot of our workforce spends working with the public, face to face," he said. "We thought it was important to not only make sure they're vaccinated to protect themselves but also that it would be protection for the people they're dealing with every day."
Baker said he "fully expected" there would be some back and forth associated with implementing the policy, and he remains confident that the situation will be resolved amicably.