Judge denies Mass. state police union bid for vaccination delay

A MASSACHUSETTS Superior Court judge has denied a request by the State Police Association of Massachusetts to delay Gov. Charlie Baker’s state employee coronavirus vaccine mandate, saying the delay would not serve the public interest . / AP FILE PHOTO/TED S. WARREN

BOSTON (AP) A Massachusetts Superior Court judge has turned down a request by the union that represents 1,800 Massachusetts State Police troopers to delay Gov. Charlie Baker’s state employee coronavirus vaccine mandate.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit last week saying the Oct. 17 deadline would cause troopers “irreparable harm” and they wanted more time to “negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.”

A delay in implementation of the mandate would not serve the public interest, Judge Jackie Cowin said in Thursday’s decision.

“Specifically, the public interest is, unquestionably, best served by stopping the spread of the virus, in order to protect people from becoming ill, ensure adequate supply of medical services, and curtail the emergence of new, deadlier variants of the virus,” the decision said.

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A message was left with the union’s lawyer.

The union also asked that troopers who choose not to get vaccinated, or who have already had COVID-19, be allowed to instead wear a mask on the job and undergo weekly coronavirus testing.

Baker announced last month that 42,000 state workers and contractors in the executive branch are required to be vaccinated, or be granted a legitimate exemption, by Oct. 17 or face disciplinary action including possible termination.

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