Seattle, Wash.— The Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW 21 issued the following joint statement on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care workers:
“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.
At the same time, we fully expect employers to bargain with us over this change to working conditions.
We are facing an extraordinary staffing crisis in our hospitals and continue to advocate for reasonable deadlines and options for frequent testing as well as masking, as required in all health care facilities, for those who are unvaccinated. These provisions mirror those included in mandates in other states that allow health care workers to stay on the job caring for all of us through this ongoing crisis.
We also know that while the vaccines are incredibly effective, they do not replace PPE, universal masking or other infection control measures. We will continue to demand universal access to N95 masks and push employers to improve ventilation in facilities where needed.”
About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and Montana. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing representation, education and resources that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 19,000 registered nurses for collective bargaining who provide care in hospitals, clinics, schools and community and public health settings across the state.
About UFCW 21
UFCW 21 is working to build a powerful union that fights for economic, political and social justice in our workplaces and our communities. We represent over 45,000 workers in retail, grocery stores, health care, and other industries in Washington state.