Politics

Judge rejects public safety unions’ bid to block enforcement of Mayor Wu’s Jan. 15 vaccine mandate

In court papers filed in Suffolk Superior Court (pictured), three unions contend the city negotiated the existing practice that allowed employees to provide negative COVID test results if they choose not to be vaccinated. JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF/FILE

A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Wednesday rejected a request from three public safety unions to block enforcement of Mayor Michelle Wu’s COVID vaccine mandate, which takes effect Saturday, while stressing that first responders have made “remarkable” contributions to the public amid the pandemic.

The plaintiffs had argued that the policy couldn’t be enforced until Wu’s team bargains with unions for firefighters, police supervisors, and detectives. But Judge Jeffrey Locke said from the bench that he was siding with the city.

“I will not enjoin the enforcement of the policy as of Jan. 15,” Locke said during the remote hearing. “Because I think that the public health emergency now is of such a nature that it outweighs competing claims of harm by the plaintiffs.”

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