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Judge Darigan has a big decision to make on the vaccine mandate for health care workers

The Superior Court building in Providence.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.

Happy Thursday! I’m Dan McGowan and if you’re looking for a new podcast, check out “Up Against the Mob” with Elie Honig. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 214.7 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Fully vaccinated: 708,011 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 282

Test-positive rate: 1.5 percent

Currently hospitalized: 137

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Total deaths: 2,818

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health

Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources

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Leading off

With the clock ticking on the state’s Oct. 1 COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers, all eyes will be on Superior Court Judge Melissa Darigan’s courtroom this morning as she considers a request from a group of firefighters’ unions to issue a temporary restraining order on the mandate.

The Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters filed its complaint on Sept. 8, arguing that the vaccination requirement violates state law because it “imposes a condition of employment which is a mandatory subject of bargaining.” The suit also claims the mandate violates local home rule charters.

The unions are asking Darigan to declare the mandate invalid as it applies to firefighters.



Association president Joseph Andriole has said that the majority of his members support the vaccine, but he estimated earlier this month that around 25 percent have not gotten their shots.

He has argued that firefighters could potentially lose their jobs because most union contracts require them to have an EMT certification, and the public could be at risk if there are fewer firefighters working.

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The Providence firefighters’ union is not part of the lawsuit, but on Wednesday it issued a statement claiming that it could lose 10 percent of its workforce if changes aren’t made to the Oct. 1 mandate.

”Even the most well-intentioned policies have consequences,” the union said. “It is our duty to say that the consequences of this mandate will cause undue hardship on the very firefighters that protected us.”

Today’s hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

The Globe in Rhode Island

Podcast: Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza talked about his decision to not run for governor and what he hopes to accomplish before he leaves office on this week’s edition of the Rhode Island Report. Read more.

My latest: With Matt Brown entering the race for governor, I look at the biggest question he needs to answer over the next year. Read more.

⚓ An East Providence city attorney rejected allegations from the clerk that the mayor’s administration refused to accommodate her disability, and accused her of a pattern of weaponizing unsubstantiated complaints against city personnel. Read more.

⚓ Some health care workers say they’re willing to lose their jobs to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1. Read more.

Also in the Globe

⚓ After weeks of internal strife at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency on Wednesday authorized people over 65 who had received Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to get a booster shot at least six months after their second injection. Read more.

Robert V. Gentile, a Connecticut mobster long suspected by federal authorities of having information about the whereabouts of $500 million worth of masterworks stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum decades ago, has died, his lawyer said Wednesday night. Read more.

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⚓ Patriots Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on rookie quarterback Mac Jones: “I trust him completely.” Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ At 6:30 p.m., I’ll be moderating a Zoom forum featuring the candidates for Senate District 3 on Providence’s East Side. You can watch here.

⚓ It’s the second day of Globe Summit, our three-day virtual event. Check out the schedule here.

⚓ The University of Rhode Island Board of Trustees begins two days of meetings at 9:15 a.m.

My previous column

Amazon. Citizens Bank. Market Basket. Johnston is suddenly booming with development, and a lot of the credit goes to Mayor Joseph Polisena. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza about his decision to not run for governor. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.

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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.