As has been reported in the news, Governor Jay Inslee yesterday issued an order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all health care workers as a condition of employment. He set a deadline of October 18 for all health care employees, including nurses, to be fully vaccinated or face termination. While exemptions will be considered for medical and religious reasons, there will be no exemptions based on personal or philosophical opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Our attorneys, public affairs, nursing practice and union staff have combed through the official proclamation and have answers to the questions we have received in our Washington Vaccination Mandate FAQ.
Because Governor Inslee has issued this mandate, health care employers – public and private – have to abide by the mandate. However, all employers still have to bargain with WSNA over the effects of the mandate such as will the employer provide paid sick leave if a nurse has side-effects from the vaccine or what would happen to a nurse with an exemption in place?
We are committed to protecting the confidentiality of our members' medical information, including their vaccination status; federal law requires employers to maintain employee medical information as confidential, and WSNA won't agree to compromise that right.
Yesterday the three unions sent out a joint response following the Governor Inslee’s announcement of the vaccine requirement. Read the statement.
WSNA is aware that certain protests and actions against vaccination are being organized and promoted on social media. These events are not sponsored or endorsed by WSNA. While you (as a citizen) are entitled to participate in any actions off campus and away from your employer’s hospital or facility on non-work time, we urge nurses not to participate in these events especially if they involve walking out on your job or if the action is on or near the campus of any WSNA-represented hospital or facility. Walking off the job and or participation in actions that could constitute a strike, picketing, interruption of work or other interference with orderly operation of the facility where you work may subject nurses to employer retaliation, up to immediate dismissal from employment.
WSNA strongly encourages all of our members to get vaccinated. For more information on the COVID-19 variants and vaccine, see our FAQ.
Please reach out to your nurse representative with any questions.
May 10, 2022