3 Boston police, fire unions avoid vaccine mandate after appeals court ruling

Unvaccinated members will have to be tested regularly while the legal challenge continues


Image/Boston Firefighters Local 718

Cassie McGrath

BOSTON — An appeals court judge granted an injunction Tuesday that blocked Boston Mayor Michelle Wu from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for three fire and police unions.

The decision came from Massachusetts Appeals Court Judge Sabita Singh and ruled that requiring all city workers to either get the vaccine or get fired cannot be enforced on members of three municipal labor unions, at least until their legal challenge concludes, according to WCVB.

Members of the Boston Firefighters Local 718, the Superior Officers Federation and Detectives Benevolent Society will still have to adhere to the former policy of regular testing for unvaccinated members.


“After appellate review, our motion for injunctive relief against Mayor Wu’s vaccine mandate & labor violations, was granted by Justice Sabita Singh,” the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation tweeted Tuesday. “This is a chance to hold our elected leaders accountable while protecting our members’ labor rights.”

Boston Firefighters Local 718 posted a statement after the ruling as well, writing that they have been consistent in their problem with the December vaccine mandate.

“It blatantly violated carefully negotiated agreements and obligations under state labor law,” the statement read. “We have never been anti-science or vaccine. We simply were asking for Mayor Wu to keep her word and honor the agreements her own administration had endorse and executed.”


WCVB reported that a spokesperson for Wu said the administration is “disappointed” in the ruling and continued to support vaccinations requirements to save lives from COVID.

Last month, a Superior Court judge upheld the mandate for the three unions, despite the group’s arguments that Wu threw out a negotiated agreement made in good faith collective bargaining with former Mayor Jim Janey to allow testing in place of vaccines.

Wu said last week that 95% of city employees are fully vaccinated, with 95% of the Boston Police Department and 91% of the Boston Fire Department vaccinated, according to data from Jan. 24.


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