Washington state employees ratify vaccine mandate agreement

Members of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) ratified an agreement with the state addressing the effects of Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate

The move comes weeks after the union sued to block what is believed to be among the nation’s strictest COVID-19 employee vaccine mandates.

The vote concluded Thursday night with more than 80% casting their ballot in favor of ratification, according to the union. 

The agreement provides an additional leave day, a retirement option, vaccine access and education on work time, and a fair, equitable and consistent process for employees seeking a medical or religious exemption.

RELATED: Washington state employee union raps Inslee over vaccine mandates

The Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 is a union representing nearly 47,000 public service workers in state agencies, higher education and behavioral health.

"Our union was able to achieve what we set out for—a victory for public health and due process," said WFSE President and Psychiatric Social Worker Mike Yestramski.

The union began meeting with the state's bargaining team on Aug. 16. When the state’s bargaining team failed to meet their legal obligation to negotiate, WFSE filed a lawsuit seeking court intervention to compel the employer to bargain in good faith, the union said. 

A tentative agreement was reached last week and now WFSE is in the process of withdrawing the pending lawsuit.

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