It was the latest turn in the political fight that continues to dominate Mayor Michelle Wu’s early tenure as city executive: on Thursday, a judge with the Massachusetts Appeals Court effectively paused Boston’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate days before the city planned to place unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave. In an order, the judge issued a temporary stay, pending review of a judicial decision made earlier this month declining to block the vaccine requirement, as sought by a trio of public safety unions.
Thursday’s order is the latest development in a clash that has pitted Wu’s new administration against municipal unions over her attempt to require the city’s 18,000-plus workers to be vaccinated to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. The toughened mandate—which does away with the option for workers to get regular COVID tests in lieu of vaccinations—has made the mayor a focus of widespread anger among city workers. Those hard feelings could mar Wu’s work ahead, including her campaign pledge to use the collective bargaining process to achieve reforms within the Police Department.