In a statement to KXRO, the Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and UFCW 21, which cover both Harbor Regional Health and Summit Pacific Medical Center workers, stated:
“As unions representing nurses and health care workers in Washington state, the Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW21 support science-based public health directives on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for frontline health care workers, with medical and religious exemptions. We stand firmly behind vaccination as the best way to save the lives of patients, family members and members of our communities.”
The unions added that “At the same time, we fully expect employers to bargain with us over this change to working conditions.”
The requirement for state workers is in place, regardless of teleworking status. This applies to executive cabinet agencies, but the governor encouraged all others such as higher education, local governments, the legislative branch, other statewide elected officials and organizations in the private sector to do the same.
“It is the mission of public servants and those providing health care to serve our fellow Washingtonians. These workers live in every community in our state, working together and with the public every day to deliver services,” Inslee said. “We have a duty to protect them from the virus, they have the right to be protected, and the communities they serve and live in deserve protection as well.”