SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Officers Guild said it was not consulted in the decision to require city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and that such a decision is "a mandatory subject of bargaining."
On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced most state employees and private health care workers need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face termination. The mandate was adopted by King County and the City of Seattle.
The state, county and city cite the rise in delta variant cases across the country.
The directive at the city level applies to all workers in executive departments, regardless of whether they are working remotely, unless they have a sincerely held religious or medical exemption.
“From the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic to today, Governor Inslee, Executive Constantine and I believe in the importance of speaking as one government. So many small businesses have stepped up to require vaccines and as some of Washington’s largest employers, we are too. The spread of the Delta variant has required that we continue to make decisions that are safe for our employees, their families, and our community. There is no doubt that vaccines work, and that they are our best defense against the highly contagious Delta variant,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. “Seattle has led the way by listening to our public health officials- it’s why we have the lowest cases, hospitalizations and deaths of every major city. It is crucial that in our workplaces where we work, eat, have meetings, and laugh together, we make sure we are doing what we can to keep ourselves and our colleagues, our children and families, customers, and members of the public safe from serious illness, hospitalization, or death from this virus.”
The police union said the timeline for vaccination "doesn't provide enough time for labor relations to bargain the decision of effects."
"Our Seattle community is already experiencing a Seattle Police Department staffing crisis. Given this crisis; which in part resulting in an alarming crime wave, can Seattle now endure more losses of police officers due to Mayor Durkan’s vaccination order?" the union said in a statement.