Union statement on vaccination requirement for health care workers

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. 

About WSNA 
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.