Washington state workers union agree to COVID mandate

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Washington’s largest state labor union has announced a tentative agreement for Gov. Jay Inslee’s order for state workers, just days after suing to stop what is believed to be one of the nation’s strongest COVID-19 employee immunization jobs and demands. 

According to the Northwest News Network, the Washington Federation of State Employees(WFSE) has reportedly negotiated terms for Inslee’s ultimatum that all 46,000 of its union members be fully vaccinated by October 18 or risk losing their jobs. The order was made by the Democratic governor in August, citing the extremely contagious delta form. 

The union filed a labor complaint, alleging that Inslee’s administration was bargaining in bad faith. The new agreement was released Saturday and explained the exclusions and religious and medical exemptions process for employees who can’t or won’t receive their immunizations. It still needs to be ratified. 

This agreement is a victory for both public health job workers and due process,” WFSE said in a statement. “It puts in place a fair, equitable and consistent process for members seeking a legitimate exemption to the mandate.” 

Anyone eligible to retire before the end of the year can avoid getting the vaccine if they take advantage of their accrued or unpaid leave until their retirement date. Those who miss the deadline in October will be able to take up to 30 days off to get vaccinated. 

Workers will not lose their employment while awaiting the outcome of their exemption request, and those who are denied will be given 45 days off to get fully vaccinated.  Employees can also get the vaccine while on the clock and they will get a “vaccine incentive” in the form of an additional personal leave day in 2022. 

We are confident that through our negotiation efforts and partnership going forward, we have clarified issues to help employees get on the path towards vaccination and ultimately provide for safer workplaces,” said Mike Faulk, Gov. an Inslee spokesman. 

Source: U.S. News & World Report 

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