A small but boisterous group of Boston first responders has come up with a way to protest Boston's impending vaccination requirement: Everybody files for exemptions the night before the mandate goes into effect, then when the city moves to terminate them, claim their vacation time so the city still has to pay them while adjudicating their claims - and forcing the city to hire expensive replacements.
The group, Boston First Responders United, sent out details of its plan for mass religious exemptions last night to the roughly 350 people on its mailing list. By contrast, Boston has roughly 2,100 police officers, 1,600 firefighters and 400 EMTs and paramedics.
Leaders of the two main unions who represent first-responder rank and file have been battling the city over the imposition of a vaccine mandate as a collective-bargaining issue: If the city wants to require vaccinations, they have to bargain with the unions to give up something in return.
But this new group says screw that, they don't want shots, period, because they claim vaccines violate their God-given rights to preserve their holy immune systems and, they claim, to protect pregnant first responders and others with what they say are legitimate health reasons not to get shots that can reduce the spread of a deadly virus. They vow to fight what they call tyrannical plans by politicians to deprive them of their freedom, their jobs and even their cars.
Some members have also used the city 311 system to attack union leaders, in particular Ed Kelly, formerly head of the Boston firefighters union, but now president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
In their plans, leaders of Boston First Responders United provide a sample statement first responders can use to demand a religious exemption at 10:45 p.m. on Jan. 14 - which is when the group says everybody should file their demands for exemptions, just before the start of the new city shot requirement on Jan. 15:
I am notifying you that I am exempt from this activity based on my sincerely held religious beliefs. God created me with an immune system and I will not alter his design. It is a sin against my God-given conscience to allow unwanted intrusions into my body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
That statement was written by Peggy Hall, an Orange County, CA anti-mask activist who now fights vaccines, in part by selling cards that claim bearers have a right under federal law to ignore local mask mandates, which they do not.
Under the vaccination mandate announced by Mayor Wu, city workers will have to show proof they have gotten at least one shot by Jan. 15, and a second by Feb. 15, if they don't get the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Failure to do so can mean being placed on unpaid leave. Wu said today that roughly 90% of city workers have already gotten their shots.
When the state announced a similar mandate earlier this year, the union representing state troopers claimed many would fight rather than get a shot. To date, after the union lost in court, one state trooper has been terminated, although several dozen more are awaiting disciplinary action.
The first-responder group says they are ready to grind out the system through delay: