Hundreds of public staff search vaccine exemptions in Washington state

Some 4,800 state workers in Washington have already requested medical or non secular exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Based on data launched this week by the state, these requests quantity to just about 8% of the 60,000 state staff who fall below Inslee’s 24 cupboard departments. As of Sept. 6, lower than 50% of all workers in these companies had been verified as being absolutely vaccinated.

Inslee final month issued an government order that each one state workers, in addition to Ok-12 and state college workers, should be absolutely vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal.

“The governor is dedicated to saving lives, as he has been for the reason that begin of the pandemic,” a press release from Inslee’s workplace mentioned. “That’s his focus and accountability to all Washingtonians.”

Inslee’s workplace additionally mentioned they might not touch upon whether or not any explicit worker could be fired “as there may be an lodging course of that every employer should undergo with every worker who’s in search of an exemption.”

Extra particular information launched earlier this month confirmed that of three,891 requests for non secular exemptions, 737 had been accepted and that of 892 requests for medical exemptions simply 49 had been accepted.

The Washington State Division of Well being Companies has probably the most workers in search of lodging, with 743 asking for a non secular exemption and 266 asking for a medical exemption.

Out of two,300 Washington State Patrol workers, 373 have requested a non secular exemption. Of these, 215 have been accepted for sworn officers and one other 69 for civil servants. All 22 medical exemptions to this point have been accepted.

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Greater than 90 state workers, together with 80 patrol officers, lately filed a lawsuit in opposition to Inslee over the mandate, claiming it violates their constitutional rights.

One other lawsuit, filed in late August by the Washington Federation of State Staff, was settled earlier than going to courtroom. Some 80% of the union’s 47,000 members voted to ratify an settlement with Inslee that retains the mandate in place.

In alternate, members get a further private go away day in 2022. Those that are eligible to retire by the tip of the 12 months and don’t need to get vaccinated can use accrued go away starting Oct. 18 by their retirement date.

The settlement additionally permits workers who file for an exemption by Oct. 18 and are ultimately denied can have 45 days to develop into absolutely vaccinated with out threat of termination.

Different unions, together with these representing troopers and Division of Corrections Officers, are nonetheless negotiating with the state.

Inslee mentioned final week he thought the settlement with the WFSE was a great template for these discussions.

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