Sep 24, 2021

Latest Update on Baker Vaccine Mandate

NAGE's negotiating team made some progress regarding the COVID vaccination mandate at its meeting with Commonwealth representatives yesterday.  
While the Commonwealth is still insisting that Executive Branch employees who do not have a medical or religious exemption complete the COVID vaccination process by October 17, 2021, or face disciplinary action, the Commonwealth offered, in response to NAGE's proposal, to let employees use their own benefit time in certain circumstances if they have not gotten entirely vaccinated by the deadline (see example), this change from the Commonwealth's earlier position is the result of NAGE's proposals and advocacy to avoid discipline and the loss of pay and benefits for members. 

In addition, NAGE argued that members that have filed for an exemption but have not been provided a decision should be held harmless if the employer had not issued a decision by October 17, 2021. The Commonwealth responded that employees who have applied for a religious or medical exemption by October 8, 2021, and have supplied documents or information requested by the Commonwealth, but have not received a decision by October 17, 2021, would be placed on administrative leave until a decision on the exemption application has been made.   
NAGE members may have seen news media reports that the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) filed suit against the Commonwealth last week seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the Commonwealth from enforcing the vaccine mandate against state troopers.  A Suffolk Superior Court justice denied SPAM's motion for preliminary injunction in a nine-page decision yesterday after an hour-long hearing on Wednesday, September 22; the judge ruled that the public interest in stopping the spread of COVID in Massachusetts justified the vaccination order.  The judge stated that requiring Executive Branch employees to be vaccinated protects the employees, the persons with whom they come in contact, and the state as a whole.  A link to the judge's decision is HERE.
NAGE is again encouraging our members to get vaccinated as this will best protect the health and safety of our members. 
As a reminder, NAGE is advocating to protect our members' jobs and represent any member not in compliance with the vaccine mandate as of October 17.  The Commonwealth will proceed with discipline up to and including termination for anyone not complying with the mandate.  In most cases, grievances will be filed on behalf of the disciplined or terminated member. However, we want all members to be aware that the grievance process can take up to a year or more before arbitration begins. 

NAGE meets with the Commonwealth on Wednesday, September 29th and we will provide another update afterward.


Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. - Albert Einstein
NAGE HEADQUARTERS 159 Burgin Parkway
Quincy, MA 02169
Main Phone: (617)376-0220
Main Fax: (617)984-5695
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