Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A union for Massachusetts police said Monday that dozens of state troopers have quit since the state announced a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The announcement comes more than a month after Gov. Charlie Baker issued an executive order Aug. 19 requiring all executive department employees to show proof of being fully vaccinated by Oct. 17.
The order was subsequently challenged by the police union that represents some 1,800 members, but was denied denied last week by a judge.
The police union said that it was "disappointed" with the ruling but will respect it.
"It is unfortunate that the governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives," Michael Cherven, president of the union, said in a statement.
He said the order has prompted "dozens of troopers" to submit their resignations, many of whom plan to apply to other departments that offer alternatives to the vaccine mandate, such as mask wearing and regular testing.
"All we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line of duty injury," he said.
During a press conference Monday, Baker told reporters that he is standing firm on his vaccine mandate position, stating it is "critically important" for public officials who deal with the public to be inoculated against the virus.
"Those people who are dealing with them ought to believe that they are vaccinated," he said.