Boston municipal workers will get one more week to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate the city announced in December, Mayor Michelle Wu said as she pointed to "major steps forward over the weekend with several of our unions."
Wu said 18,270 employees, 94 percent of the workforce, are in compliance, including more than 1,600 who newly submitted proof of vaccination after she announced the rule on Dec. 20. A previous policy allowed for weekly testing in lieu of proving vaccination status. Through Jan. 30, no employees will be placed on unpaid leave for noncompliance with the policy, which originally called for workers to have their first dose by Jan. 15.
"We are giving our employees one more week because conversations are going very well with several of our municipal union partners and looking to make progress and see where we are at the end of this week, but this policy will be implemented and we're getting there," Wu said. "We are basically there."
The city's office of labor relations has been meeting with each collective bargaining unit, she said, and vaccine clinics will be available over the next week.
Boston Firefighters Local 718 has been demonstrating against the mandate and calling Wu "anti-labor," charging that she "does not respect collective bargaining."
Wu said almost every city department has a vaccination rate above 90 percent. The parks department is at 97 percent, inspectional services 96 percent, Boston Police above 95 percent, the city's public library 95 percent, Boston Public Schools 94 percent and Boston Fire at 91 percent. She said several departments have 100 percent vaccination rates, including the registry and treasury departments, the clerk's office, the Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, the youth employment and engagement office and the office of streets.