The rubber is hitting the road on Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s not-so-aptly-named “B Together” passport and vaccination mandate — and she could pay a steep political price for her bold policy decisions.
It’s one thing to declare that there will be a mandate on vaccines, but it’s another when small businesses start losing customers and unions start demanding that the mandate be part of their collective bargaining. .
There’s nothing “general” about the strict policy, which has drawn howls of protest from some unions and others opposed to vaccination mandates.
It’s also risky for Wu, who is only in her first months on the job.
If it holds too tightly, it could be catastrophic for business and catastrophic for unions.
By next week – after a one-week grace period – city workers could start losing their jobs, a result of Wu’s mandate that all employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
And the requirement that all patrons of bars, restaurants, gyms and other indoor public places show proof of vaccination has already begun in the city of Boston.
Businesses already economically ravaged by COVID must verify some sort of vaccine passport themselves or will have to turn away customers. Tourist buses, a big part of the city’s economy, could avoid the city.
“We know that our small businesses have already, one by one in different cases, weighed the decision on how to keep their workforce and customers safe. But without a clear policy that applies at all levels, we are burdening small businesses with making the right choices to absorb the heat from it,” Wu said.
It could start to get ugly very quickly – even uglier than the loud public protests going on outside Wu’s home in Roslindale.
Wu’s rigid policy could end up being too punitive, forcing hundreds of companies to take the time and effort to verify vaccination passports.
And if businesses don’t comply with the verification policy, they could face hundreds of dollars in fines from city officials.
Is Wu really ready to start cracking down on small businesses for a policy she created? It seems too unfair to owners who are just trying to stay afloat.
And now, of course, the unions are starting to see dollar signs in Wu’s crackdown.
Firefighters want to be paid now to make their booster shots part of their collective bargaining, and other unions are expected to follow suit.
This could end up being a very costly proposition for Boston taxpayers, Boston business owners, and Wu’s political future.