Massachusetts officers set to resign in droves over exemption-less vaccine mandate

Mass. officers set to resign in droves over vaccine mandate

Massachusetts State Police Association President and Sergeant Mike Cherven says that officers have not been told if ‘reasonable alternatives’ will be granted, such as weekly testing or masking

Massachusetts state police officers are set to resign in droves over a fast-approaching vaccine mandate deadline, which as of yet has not allowed for medical or religious exemptions—or alternatives such as weekly COVID testing. 

State Police Association President Sgt. Mike Cherven told “Fox & Friends” that “dozens” of officers have sent in their letters of intent to leave the force, following the policy to notify the department within 30 days of their resignation. 

“There just hasn’t been time to properly roll this program out,” said Cherven, noting that with the October 17 deadline fast approaching, officers have still not heard back about their medical and religious exemption submissions. 

Cherven says many officers are turning to other places for employment, such as municipal departments that allow for “reasonable alternatives,” such as regular COVID-19 testing, masking on the job, or a combination of both. 

“It’s not an across-the-board mandate. It’s only for the executive branch of Massachusetts, which is affecting my membership,” Cherven said.

Cherven filed a lawsuit to lengthen an executive order that allowed for extended impact bargaining, wherein employees have the right to bargain over the impact or effect of a decision from an employer, such as a layoff. 

The judge denied this lawsuit.

“This doesn’t come down to feelings for the mandate for us. This is about fair labor practices and making sure our members that have been on the force on the front lines can remain on the front lines and years of experience doesn’t walk out the door,” he added. 

In a press conference on Monday in Boston, Mass. Governor Charlie Baker asserted that it was necessary for government employees to receive the vaccine and said that it was important to work with the state legislature and Mass. State Police to fund “classes” and “recruit aggressively” to “refill the ranks” lost from the new mandate.

Cherven said he doesn’t know how the department will make back its numbers, which he says have already dwindled from years of funding “neglect” and departures.

“We are down to the lowest [numbers] that I can recall in my 25-year history.”

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