Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's COVID-19 mandate went into effect, leaving 150 Department of Correction employees without their jobs. As of October 17, the 40,000 contractors and workers within the state needed to be 100 percent vaccinated.
The 150 consists of maintenance workers, recreation officers, and prison officers who were all suspended without pay or benefits. A few of them decided to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while others went for the Moderna or Pfizer.
As of October 27, 362 employees were on track to be suspended, with 130 resigning. There were 11 workers that had been fired. The number is constantly changing, with hearings coming up and some employees getting immunized right before.
Corrections employees started losing their jobs about a week ago after failing to comply with the mandate after five and ten-day suspensions. So far, 94 percent of state workers are in compliance.
Baker stands firmly behind his mandate, stating that it is "perfectly appropriate" because state employees constantly interact with the general public. However, Baker did allow employees to apply for religious or medical exemptions.
So far, though, no one has actually been granted a waiver. All those who fulfilled the requirements were still required to get a vaccine. According to the letters collected by MassLive, waivers "increase workplace safety risks" and pose an "undue hardship," and those who initially were granted waivers had them rescinded.