While the Boston Teachers Union gave its immediate support to acting Mayor Kim Janey's impending vaccination mandate for city workers, Boston Firefighters Local 718 is saying tonight it may fight the order, not because it opposes vaccination but because the requirement represents a change in working conditions without any bargaining.
In an e-mail to his members this afternoon, Local 718 President John Soares urged his members to attend an Aug. 19 union meeting to discuss how the union should respond. He emphasized the union's attorney is carefully scrutinizing the new requirement - and that he is talking to the head of other Boston employee unions about possible united action over what he called an insult to the rights of city workers.
We first learned of a potential mandatory COVID vaccination policy being proposed by Mayor Janey for City of Boston employees in the media approximately two weeks ago. Learning of such a major change in working conditions and violation of an individual’s human rights under these circumstances is not only unacceptable but represents a lack of respect to the men and women who have selflessly served on the front lines since the beginning of this global pandemic. This policy has generated a myriad of questions and scenarios that could have lasting effects not only on our members’ health and rights but on the collective bargaining process.
Boston Firefighters understand the seriousness of the COVID virus because of the personal nature of our work protecting the public. Our concerns regarding mandated vaccination should not in any way be misconstrued to belittle the deadly effects of this virus. We have strived throughout this pandemic to maintain safe working conditions for our members, their families, and the public we serve. I am proud of how we have conducted ourselves professionally during these challenging times and for the partnership we have with Commissioner Dempsey. However, we deserve, like all city employees deserve, an opportunity to address our concerns with a meaningful dialogue on all sides of this issue. As your President, I will continue to navigate this situation until a resolution can be reached.