State negotiators reject all WFSE proposals on mandate

Washington’s largest public service union calls on state to bargain in good faith over vaccine requirement


The following is from the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28:

OLYMPIA (Aug. 19, 2021) — In response to the state’s failure to bargain the impacts of Governor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate in good faith, the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) released the following statement late Wednesday:

“When Washington labor unions learned of Governor Inslee’s intention to issue a vaccine mandate, we moved quickly to identify the priorities of our membership. The Washington Federation of State Employees presented a thorough list to the state on Monday that would ensure the safe, fair and consistent implementation of the vaccine mandate. These priorities demonstrate the labor community’s commitment to being a part of the solution to this health crisis. All proposals were outright rejected by the state, a clear failure on the state’s part to negotiate this serious matter in good faith.

“The hardworking Washingtonians impacted by this mandate are the same workers who have been on the front lines of this global pandemic for the past 18 months. The state’s failure to negotiate in good faith is disrespectful to those who have sacrificed their own health for the sake of their communities.

“We encourage our members to get vaccinated. A combination of vaccination, masking and adherence to expert public health guidance is necessary to end this pandemic. However, this mandate must be implemented in a way that respects employees in need of religious or medical accommodations, considers the already serious staffing crisis in public service, and acknowledges the sacrifice of our state’s public servants.”

The Washington Federation of State Employees is a union representing nearly 47,000 public service workers in state agencies, higher education and behavioral health. We care for Washington’s most vulnerable residents, provide services for children and families, ensure public safety, protect our natural resources and more. Our collective strength gives us the ability to speak up for our jobs, families and communities.

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