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Massachusetts State Police Claim Of 'Prohibited Practice' Over State's COVID Vaccine Mandate Dismissed

BOSTON (CBS) - The Commonwealth Employee Relations Board CERB) has upheld a decision dismissing prohibited practice charge over COVID-19 vaccine requirements filed by the State Police of Massachusetts.

In September, the Massachusetts State Police union asked a judge to put a hold on Governor Charlie Baker's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troopers.

The union, which represents 1,800 members, argued that the state needed to bargain with workers before implementing the mandate, which states that 44,000 executive department employees must show proof of vaccination by October 17 or risk losing their jobs. A judge denied the union's request.

The union also filed a prohibited practice charge, which an investigator of the Department of Labor Relations dismissed, saying that exigent circumstances allowed the state to implement the policy by October 17 and continue to bargain with the union after that date.

The CERB upheld the investigator's decision in a ruling issued on Thursday.

"There is no doubt that despite being two years into the pandemic, these are still extraordinary times. A pandemic of this duration and scope constitutes a basis for setting a deadline to complete bargaining over a vaccine mandate intended to protect the health and safety of Executive Department employees and the public they serve, and to ensure that the Commonwealth's Executive Department keeps functioning. For similar reasons, and for those stated above and in the dismissal letter, we find that the October 17th deadline was both reasonable and necessary," the board said.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) said dozens of troopers have submitted their resignation papers as a result of the state's COVID vaccine mandate.

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