A pregnant Boston cop has called out new Mayor Michelle Wu over expanding the COVID vaccine mandate and for refusing to allow the option to test out.
During a visit to a Boston Police Department precinct last week, newly elected Wu was grilled by 30-week pregnant officer Gianna Mullane, 37, who said the city’s latest expansion of vaccine mandates is forcing parents to choose between their children’s health and their job.
‘Mayor Wu, when you were pregnant, did you do drugs or drink alcohol? Did you eat sushi or cold cuts? Did you listen to your doctor, your husband’s wishes and the guidance of your faith leaders?’ Mullane says in a video clip that was posted online from Wu’s December 23 visit.
‘Mayor Wu, did you make your own decisions for yourself and your unborn children?’
Last week, Wu announced that Boston will strengthen the existing vaccine mandate for its roughly 18,000 city workers by removing the option for them to get regularly tested instead of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
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During a visit to a Boston Police Department precinct last week newly elected Mayor Michelle Wu (left) was grilled by 30-week pregnant officer Gianna Mullane (right) over the vaccine mandate
Mullane (pictured) told Wu the city’s latest expansion of vaccine mandates is forcing parents to choose between their children’s health and their job
Currently 2,300 city employees and contractors face losing their jobs unless they present proof of vaccination by January 15, 2022, and proof of a second dose by February 15, WBGH.com reported.
The strengthened mandate comes as Massachusetts passed 1 million coronavirus cases, according to state Department of Public Health data.
In Boston, there have been 108,336 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,510 deaths. There have been 980,565 total vaccines administered and 467,157 residents, or nearly 69 percent, are fully vaccinated, according to the latest city data.
Mullane told Wu she was due in 10 weeks and under the mandate, she would need to get two vaccines before she delivers and said her fears over the vaccine stem from previous miscarriages.
‘Did you do everything you needed to do to have a safe and healthy pregnancy?’ she says in the video.
Mayor Wu (pictured) has not made any adjustments to the updated vaccine mandate
‘Do you understand what it’s like losing a child and having to go through fertility treatments? We are asking you, Mayor Wu, to understand where we’re coming from. We are mothers. We are fathers. We don’t know what the outcome is going to be.
‘We care about our families,’ she added.
Mullane then asked Wu to sign a document stating she would take personal and administrational responsibility if anything went wrong for expectant mothers who get the vaccine.
‘Can you, right now, put your faith, your person, everything that your research behind this vaccine right now, and sign a document for us, saying that you personally and the city, will take full responsibility if something were to happen to us as mothers and our unborn children,’ Mullane asked at meeting. ‘Would you do that right now for all of us?’
Wu did not appear to agree to sign the document and has not made any adjustments to the updated vaccine mandate since her visit.
In a separate video from the meeting Wu also said she would not consider extending the start date for the updated mandate until after the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on January 7.
‘Um, no,’ Wu said. ‘We’re going to be on our timeline, and if the court tells us otherwise, then we can do that. But there’s already been cases that have happened elsewhere, and we are matching what the state’s doing in terms of their policies.’
On Tuesday, 9,228 confirmed cases across the state brought the total number of COVID cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to 1,002,266, Boston.com reported.
In Massachusetts, 6,235,047 people or 90 percent of the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 5,134,522 people, or 74 percent of Massachusetts’s population, have been fully vaccinated, according to USAfact.org.
The U.S. has has hit a record number of COVID infections.
A seven-day average of cases nationwide currently sits at 300,387, the highest of the pandemic so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
New data shows 489,267 new cases recorded on Wednesday – 15,057 of which were from the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Currently, only 61.9 percent of the total U.S population is fully vaccinated.
Joe Biden’s controversial nationwide order that large businesses either mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or test their workers regularly will be considered by the Supreme Court during a special hearing on January 7.
The court will also decide on the lawfulness of a separate vaccine requirement for health care workers.
The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, delayed action on emergency requests in both cases that sought an immediate decision.
The workplace mandate is currently in effect nationwide, while the health care worker mandate is blocked in half the 50 U.S. states.
The Biden administration asked the court to allow the policy to go into effect in 24 states in which it was blocked by lower courts. It is also blocked in Texas in a separate case not before the justices.
President Joe Biden in September unveiled regulations to increase the adult vaccination rate as a way of fighting the pandemic, which has killed more than 800,000 Americans and weighed on the economy.
Legal experts say it’s ‘fundamentally undemocratic’ and unconstitutional for Biden to use emergency orders meant for asbestos to compel workers to get the COVID vaccine
As part of the White House’s aggressive new approach to fighting the pandemic, the president directed the Labor Department’s regulatory agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to mandate all businesses with at least 100 employees either require all of them to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing.
The agency has the authority to issue an ’emergency temporary standard’ (ETS) if it can prove workers are exposed to a grave danger and the rule is deemed necessary to address it.
A Congressional report updated in July notes how rarely emergency standards are used. Before the COVID pandemic the last OSHA ETS was struck down in 1983, when a federal court said the agency failed to support its claim that asbestos exposure in the workplace needed to be further reduced due to a significant adverse impact on employees’ health.
OSHA issued an ETS in June to protect health care workers from COVID by mandating workplaces like hospitals and nursing homes to draft a plan on keeping employees safe, improving ventilation, supply adequate PPE and implement social distancing measures or build barriers where that’s not possible.
It also requires relevant companies to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated or paid leave in the event they test positive.
And while the idea might be ‘well-intentioned,’ a Friday morning op-ed claims, Biden also risks ‘shredding the social fabric’ of an already divided country by stretching the bounds of constitutionality.
‘The president should not — and likely does not — have the power to unilaterally compel millions of private sector workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs,’ Republican commentator Robby Soave wrote in the New York Times.
Duke University senior lecturing fellow Dan Bowling pointed out to McClatchy News that OSHA’s investigative and enforcement capabilities are relatively weak compared to the IRS or Securities and Exchange Commission.
‘If somebody falls off a ladder that was broken in a place of business and breaks his or her leg, that’s pretty easy to prove employer liability. The employer would have to report the accident under OSHA,’ Bowling said. ‘If someone catches COVID who works somewhere that doesn’t follow the vaccine mandate, how do you prove that?’
Among the parties challenging the strict measure in court are the Republican National Committee, as well as the governors of at least nine states.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who’s resisted implementing a mask mandate even when its COVID hospitalizations and deaths were among the highest in the country, promised to see Biden ‘in court.’
Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to ‘pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach.’
But in states like Montana, Texas and Florida, which all said they intend to sue, OSHA’s ETS rules predate similar existing state guidelines – which would make a legal case more of an uphill battle than states that created their own OSHA-approved regulatory bodies after the fact.
What is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by President Richard Nixon under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
OSHA has jurisdiction over most private and public workplaces across the country, but some states have their own OSHA-approved regulatory agencies.
The agency regulates health and safety standards in the workplace. To enforce that it’s able to conduct unannounced inspections ensuring those standards are met.
Since it was created workplace deaths fell dramatically by nearly 63 percent, according to OSHA. An estimated 14,000 workers – or 38 per day – were killed on the job in 1970. But 2018 the number fell to 5,250, despite a doubling of the total US workforce.
OSHA’s process for enacting new workplace standards includes consulting a number of relevant advisory committees linked to the Labor and Heath and Human Services Departments, as well as consulting business owners and allowing a window for public input, at least 30 days but ‘usually 60 days or more.’
Businesses in states with their own OSHA-approved agencies can ask for a ‘variance’ in the rule if they can’t comply by the effective date.
If the state is under federal OSHA jurisdiction then the agency will have to work with the state to determine if the exception can be granted
What is an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)?
An ETS allows OSHA to bypass the consultation process and public input window if it determines ‘workers are in grave danger due to exposure to toxic substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or to new hazards and that an emergency standard is needed to protect them.’
Emergency standards can take effect immediately but only stay in effect until replaced by a permanent standard.
That proposed permanent standard must go through the regular bureaucratic channels and be decided upon within six months.
During that time the temporary rule can be challenged in an appropriate federal court.
OSHA can issue ‘temporary variance’ rules to employers who prove they can’t comply with a regulation in time, but they have to demonstrate they are taking all the necessary and possible steps to protect workers, and show a roadmap toward compliance.