Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima, has proposed a bill to help the hundreds of former state workers who lost their jobs over the government-imposed Covid-19 vaccination mandate.
Governor Inslee issued a directive mandating Covid-19 vaccines for all state workers back in 2021. The most recent version of the directive removes the mandate for boosters.
“I have been clear on this since the beginning – the vaccine mandate for state employees was an overreach,” said Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima. “The loss of nearly 1,900 state workers over the vaccine mandate hurt families and damaged the state causing major disruptions to ferry service and exacerbating the staffing shortage at the Washington State Patrol.”
“This bill ensures that state workers fired over the vaccine mandate who want those jobs back are prioritized in the application process. It also creates a system for those workers to get their missed pension credit for the time they were off the job,” said Corry.
- Provides a 10-percent hiring preference for workers who lost their jobs due to government-imposed vaccine mandates and entitles a former employee re-hired after losing a job either voluntarily or involuntarily due to government-imposed vaccine mandates to pension service credit for the time they were unemployed if they pay their normal employee contributions.
Rep. Corry has coordinated his efforts with those of King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn who is pursuing similar policy at the local level.
Today, Dunn introduced a motion that tasks King County with re-hiring employees, including deputies and other first responders, fired due to the previous requirement that all County employees be vaccinated from Covid-19.
“Now that vaccination requirements have been rolled back, this is our opportunity to bring back those public servants-especially our first responders, including law enforcement and emergency personnel-who lost their jobs,” said Dunn. “Especially as the County continues to struggle to hire enough deputies to fully staff our Sheriff’s Office, we should focus on bringing back and retaining the high-quality, experienced employees that we very much need to fully staff our work.”
King County ended the vaccination requirement for its employees last week. According to the Department of Human Resources, to date, 281 County employees have separated due to noncompliance with the vaccine mandate, including 33 in the Sheriff’s Office and 103 employees at King County Metro. As of August 2022, 120 deputy positions remain vacant. To date, King County Metro has lost 110 employees to the requirement and is working to hire nearly 40 vehicle maintenance staff and 100 bus operators.
“The decision to get vaccinated or not get vaccinated has and always should be up to the people. While the governor has not yet lifted the vaccine mandate for state workers, the least the Legislature can do is make getting those jobs back easier for those who unnecessarily lost their jobs and their livelihoods,” said Corry.
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