Permanent COVID-19 vaccination requirements for state workers via illegal rulemaking (non-union employees) and not-yet-funded bargaining (union employees) have been adopted.
How did this happen? Two major factors influenced these mandates reaching this point:
- Pressure on state agencies by Governor Inslee through DIRECTIVE 22-13.1.
- The vast majority of current state employees have already received primary doses of a COVID-19 shot. Anyone who refused to get the shots under Governor Inslee’s Executive Proclamation was fired or quit. Very few employees who filed medical and religious exemptions were accommodated, leaving only a handful of state employees to protest. This new requirement mostly impacts future employees.
We are in a dangerous time when political pressure is leading agencies and key individuals to ignore and violate laws. So although COVID-19 shot mandates do not achieve Governor Inslee’s or OFM’s stated goal of protecting workers and the public, and even though such mandates violate fully informed consent laws and human rights declarations, there was not enough of an outcry from current employees to stop the mandate. Yet.
There are two avenues that could, and should, end the mandates.
OFM’s rulemaking is illegal
In their CR-102 filing, the OFM cite RCWs (laws) that do not contain any language that can be construed to mean the legislature has granted the OFM the authority to mandate any medical intervention. In their CR-103 filing, the OFM blatantly and falsely claims their rules are implementing new legislation. There is no new legislation. OFM also claims they adopted the rules under their own initiative, which is clearly false as they also state they are acting under Governor Inslee’s directive. The governor does not have the authority to permanently mandate medical interventions.
The union bargaining agreement, and OFM’s budget, must be approved by the legislature.
Governor Inslee’s first directive to OFM included mandating all boosters. Because mandated boosters actually directly impact all current employees, there was much pushback. The governor updated his directive, removing booster requirements, and instead directed OFM to find a way to “incentivize” them. It is likely this will be attempted through a line item in OFM’s budget, which will have to be approved by the legislature next session. ICWA has reached out to OFM for details, such as total number of employees this will cover, expected cost, and where the money will come from.
The new contract approved by the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and Washington State Ferries includes $1,000 COVID-19 booster incentives. The tentative agreements list the cost associated with the incentive and they total more than $40.5 million taxpayer dollars. Will the legislature fund this? This contract will become effective July 1, 2023.
The tentative agreements list the cost associated with the $1000 booster incentive for state union employees and they total more than $40.5 million.
Will this contracted incentive increase booster rates? The incentive is one-time only and payable to those who get a COVID-19 boosters between January 1 and December 31, 2023. The contract does not become effective until July 1, and then only if the legislature approves the funding in the next session. Will any state employee get a booster prior to the legislature voting?
It appears to us at ICWA that the OFM rulemaking and the tentative union contracts will not significantly increase COVID-19 primary or booster shot rate. The vast majority of current employees already have primary shots and there is no guarantee the legislature will cover the $1000 booster incentive. The only thing achieved is the very dangerous precedent of mandating medical interventions as a term of employment. For this reason, we must fight to remove them. If the state achieves mandating the least effective and most dangerous “vaccines” ever introduced , then it is clear the state is willing to mandate anything.