Hey, there! Log in / Register

Judge rejects request by state troopers that they not be forced to get Covid-19 shots before Oct. 17; says public-health concerns are paramount

A judge on Thursday rejected a request by the state troopers union to block a state order that state employees be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by Oct. 17 or risk discipline or firing.

In her ruling, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jackie Cowin gave legal reasons for rejecting the State Troopers Association request for a preliminary injunction, related to the way contracts are negotiated and appealed to state regulators. But Cowin also ruled that while the right of unions to negotiate over working conditions are in the public interest - in this case to demand more than just the time off the state offered to get shots or quarantine - what's even more in the public interest is the state's effort to knock out a deadly virus.

[T]he Commonwealth has established that the best way to promote this interest is by vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. As such, suspending the deadline for Union members to obtain full vaccination would be against the public interest which the defendants are charged with protecting, and cause more harm to the Commonwealth than is caused to the Union by the denial of [an injunction].

Cowin also rejected an argument by the union - which claimed 80% of troopers have already gotten shots - that if vaccination is so danged important the state should have issued its worker vaccination requirement long before it did and that now some troopers risk not being able to get shots in time to meet the Oct. 17 deadline.

Cowin said that that argument ignores the fact that the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed in the months since vaccines were first released, not just because of the rise of the far more infectious Delta variant and not just because of the imminent arrival of winter, which has traditionally seen a peak in respiratory diseases, but possibly because, even in Massachusetts, the state has had to deal with resistance to shots.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Complete ruling371.4 KB

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

N/c

up
Voting closed 17

Now let's see those 20% resign or be fired. Good riddance, bad cops.

up
Voting closed 85

These troopers are mad because they were hoping to retire on disability due to 'long COVID' that they got by rejecting the free vaccines.

up
Voting closed 43

Of cops thinking the rules don’t apply themselves.

up
Voting closed 29

All of these blue lives matter people complain about the risk of being an officer. The largest killer of officers is Coronavirus and yet, police and firefighter unions are fighting the vaccine mandates like their lives are not important.

up
Voting closed 58

Unless wingnut conspiracy theories matter more.

up
Voting closed 24

Cowin also ruled that while the right of unions to negotiate over working conditions are in the public interest

How is this possible?

The government IS the public. Why would it be in the public interest to allow the State Police union to bargain over sweetheart disciplinary, overtime, etc. provisions? Every single thing that the union gets through bargaining is by definition a restraint on the ability of the public (through its representative gov't) to act in its own interest.

I've heard arguments in favor of public sector unions, but I'm not buying this one.

up
Voting closed 19

Is considered in the public interest in Massachusetts. Yes, even state workers have rights.

up
Voting closed 37

True -- Mass. law currently gives state workers the ability to collectively bargain. So if you mean that ability is "considered in the public interest" because that's what the law says, fine.

But my point is that it is in reality not in the public's interest to have to bargain against its employees.

up
Voting closed 14

Just because a state employee works for the public, that does not guarantee that public supervision is appropriate or safe. Collective bargaining is a more potent and timely mechanism for addressing egregious workplace issues than waiting for the next election.

up
Voting closed 17

This is a definitional issue: if it is in the public's interest for X to happen (such as the creation of a mechanism to address egregious workplace issues), then the public can make that happen.

A CBA restricts the ability of the public to act.

Some things that are in the public's interest (see above) may be compatible with the CBA, but there will always be some things in the CBA that are not in the public's interest. For if there were a perfect match between the public's interest and the union's interest, there would be no reason for a CBA in the first place.

up
Voting closed 10

Of course not every single individual provision in a public-sector CBA will be in the public's interest, but on the whole, a public-sector workforce that is able to collectively bargain is in the public's interest. Such a workforce will work in better conditions, face less turnover, express higher job satisfaction, and generally be in position to provide better services to the public more consistently than a non-union workforce.

up
Voting closed 9

All collective bargaining is in the public interest, because it is workers that do the work. The only thing you should resent is that all workers don't have a say in their working conditions. This is a complicated issue. I agree that all state workers should be vaccinated.

up
Voting closed 24

That's my point -- we are not talking about bargaining against a corporation, we are talking about bargaining against the public. This isn't a right-wing or corporatist talking point because it has nothing to do with private-sector unionization.

Can you explain your statement that public-sector bargaining is in the public interest "because it is workers that do the work"? I don't follow.

up
Voting closed 14

You are repeating corporate pac talking points. The point of the corporate cult of personality is to let leaders and owners take the credit for what workers actually do.

up
Voting closed 13

To move the conversation along, let's assume that I am repeating "corporate pac talking points."

Can you please answer my question? To repeat: Can you explain your statement that public-sector bargaining is in the public interest "because it is workers that do the work"?

up
Voting closed 11

The point of the corporate cult of personality is to let leaders and owners take the credit for what workers actually do.

up
Voting closed 9

We are in a small hamlet in the Berkshires. The 4 citizens are Rob O, AdamG, HenryAlan, and Cinnamngrl. We collectively decide in our town meeting that we want to pay our police $80 an hour and require them to be vaccinated.

How could it possibly be in our interest for us to be bound by a CBA where these issues have to be bargained?

Now imagine that we are in a larger city and direct democracy is less feasible. Is the analysis any different?

up
Voting closed 8

Any hiring involves negotiation. But your criticism of collective bargaining is what exactly? The state is bargaining against itself? Corporations are also bargaining against themselves, because the company would not exist without the people that work there.

up
Voting closed 12

I would love to understand your position and I'm asking my questions in good faith to do just that.

But when you refuse to answer and just keep repeating these things that I don't understand the relevance of, I don't see how further dialogue could be useful.

up
Voting closed 10

Just because I am right doesn't mean I didn't answer your question. Your troll handbook is outdated.

up
Voting closed 10

When you say “our” interest, do you mean the government employing the people? If you word it that way it takes a different tone doesn’t.

If I live in that small town I want to know the cops aren’t going to quit once you cut their salaries in half if there is a budget crisis that you messed up and we have no fire/police/teacher coverage.

In a pure Ayn Rand world you are 100% right, it doesn’t make sense does it.

The public are the workers here. It’s in their interest. Everything else can be debated.

up
Voting closed 7

The original quote was about the "public" interest, so that's what I'm trying to explore -- our = the public = the citizenry (welcome to the neighborhood, Pete).

In this country, the government represents the interests of its constituents/citizenry/public. So I'm saying government = the public. We, through our representatives, or directly in our 5-person hamlet, employ workers.

I don't think there is necessarily much overlap between "the public" and "the workers." The workers are usually a very small subset of the public. Whereas the government (including as an employer) represents the public by definition.

And to your point about the pay rate, it is in the public's interest to pay their workers enough so they don't quit, so they get qualified candidates, etc. So why not leave it to the public to act in its interests (whether directly or through representatives)?

up
Voting closed 9

And there is 100% overlap of the public and the workers. And even though the “public workers” may be a subset of the public, they are still the public. There is some Jim Crow history behind some public collective bargaining, and states that want workers (people/public) to have the same rights as private workers enact these laws.

I mean the “public” is deciding (or decided) that Massachusetts is a public bargaining state right? Just change it if enough people feel otherwise.

And I get you are asking what the “benefit” is for the “public” to bargain against itself. I agree it’s not an easy concept to articulate, but I think basically workers have rights, whether or not they work for the government or for a private corporation. A little communist but it is what it is.

FYI there are 139,429 people in Massachusetts who work for municipalities or the state. That’s a good chunk of people. No sure how many are allowed to bargain, but it’s enough for federal labor laws to protect them wouldn’t you say?

up
Voting closed 12

But, much like Animal Farm, some state workers have more rights than others.

up
Voting closed 10

Now lets see if he actually terminates Troopers, Transit cops and workers who refuse to be vaccinated.

up
Voting closed 20

special task force studying options.

up
Voting closed 18

a decision will be made, and everyone who wasn't paying attention will congratulate Baker for being such a wise and just ruler, especially for a Republican.

up
Voting closed 16

I thought the reason the vaccine mandate is happening now is that they waited for full FDA approval, rather than Emergency Use Authorization.

up
Voting closed 8