WSDOT loses 402 employees over vaccine mandate

SPOKANE, Wash. — Hundreds of Washington Department of Transportation employees left over the state’s vaccine mandate.

As of Oct. 18, that number was 402.

The majority of the employees left because of the mandate, while some retired instead of getting the vaccine.

“We know at a high level that these departures will affect our general staffing, Washington State Ferries, maintenance, winter operations, the staff that maintain the equipment we use for maintenance operations and our construction projects,” said communications director Kris Rietmann Abrudan in a statement to 4 News Now. “It will take time to assess how each departure and the position/respective job duties will affect operations.”

In Eastern Washington, the Department of Transportation lost 42 employees. This region covers Spokane, Stevens, Ferry, Lincoln, Adams, Pend Oreille and Whitman counties. Of the 42 employees, 38 separated because they did not get vaccinated. Three retired in lieu of getting the vaccine and one other employee retired for an unknown reason.

Out of the 6,813 employees in the department, the DOT said 358 simply left. However, 572 people applied for a religious exemption. While 455 got approved, only 51 were accommodated.

There are some employees that will stay at the department and get vaccinated. The DOT said 108 workers started the vaccination process and are on leave until they are fully vaccinated.

RELATED: Eastern Washington loses 10 WSP employees over state vaccine mandate

RELATED: 1,887 Washington workers fired, leave jobs due to vaccine mandate

WSDOT Workforce Numbers as of 10-19-2021 by Tasha Cain on Scribd