SEIU Local 509 calls for vaccine mandates

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – SEIU Local 509, a union with nearly 20,000 members in Massachusetts, called Wednesday for all employers where its members work to impose vaccine mandates on employees.

As some private businesses and state agencies take steps toward requiring COVID-19 immunization, the union representing human service and education workers said it plans to formally request vaccine mandates at 45 employers.

“It is indisputable: Vaccines are the most powerful tool to mitigate the catastrophic impact that COVID-19 has had on our communities. We call on the Baker Administration, our private sector human service agencies, and every one of our employers to trust science and do the right thing,” SEIU Local 509 President Peter MacKinnon said in a statement. “This is ‘the pandemic of the unvaccinated’ and we all must do our part to stop the spread and protect those who are most vulnerable to this deadly virus.”

About 8,000 members of the union work in the Baker administration, which last week announced that all long-term care workers must get fully vaccinated by Oct. 10. Gov. Charlie Baker has otherwise been hesitant to impose a vaccine mandate on the public workforce, saying instead he prefers to focus on increasing access and communicating the vaccine’s effectiveness.

SEIU Local 509 officials said the union plans to bargain with each employer to ensure members have equitable access to a vaccine before a mandate takes effect.

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