Conversations continue regarding Washington vaccine mandate

SPOKANE, Wash– Jobs are on the line across Washington because of the governor’s vaccine mandate. There are only two exceptions to getting a vaccine: a medical or a religious exemption, but it’s up to the employer to come up with accommodations for those exemptions.

At least nine people working in Spokane County are part of a lawsuit to overturn that decision. Two are Spokane City firefighters and the other seven work in the county as Washington State Troopers.

Part of the lawsuit says religious questionnaire people have to fill out improperly asks about protected religious freedoms.

Even if exemptions are approved, those reasonable accommodations could place workers away from the public, into different positions in the same office.

Right now many employers and unions are trying to figure out what accommodations will look like, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

“We want to make sure that anybody who has a medical or religious reason to not get vaccinated, at this time has information and can access the exemption and that is accomplished in a seamless and informed way,” said Diane Sosne, President of the SEIU 1199 NW chapter.

Sosne explained most healthcare workers are already vaccinated. As for those who choose to quit instead of getting a shot, they’re currently working to make sure those people can get their jobs back if they change their minds and later decided to be vaccinated.

“We are looking for work that members can do in their regular job that offer, that provide an important service to providers that is needed,” Sosne said.

The deadline to be vaccinated is October 18. You have to either have both of the two-shot doses or the single shot J&J vaccine by that time.

RELATED: WA State troopers, other workers sue over vaccine mandate

RELATED: Washington employees union ratifies vaccine deal with state