Hundreds leave WSF, State Patrol and other agencies as vaccination mandate takes effect

JeffCo PUD to adopt mandate for employee shots

Brian Kelly and Laura Jean Schneider news@ptleader.com
Posted 10/20/21

 

Washington officials across multiple state agencies were bracing for impacts this week as Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate went into effect.

State employees had until …

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Hundreds leave WSF, State Patrol and other agencies as vaccination mandate takes effect

JeffCo PUD to adopt mandate for employee shots

Posted

 

Washington officials across multiple state agencies were bracing for impacts this week as Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate went into effect.

State employees had until midnight Monday to show proof of vaccination or lose their job if they didn’t have a waiver for getting the jab.

The early focus was on Washington State Ferries and public safety organizations.

Kris Rietmann Abrudan of the Washington State Department of Transportation said early Monday that a large number of WSF employees had offered proof of vaccinations.

“We’re at 87 percent of WSF employees with validated vaccinations or approved exemptions and associated accommodations,” Abrudan said in an email to The Leader.

“As of 7:30 a.m. today, we have 93 percent of WSDOT employees with validated vaccinations or approved exemptions and associated accommodations,” she added.

Last week, the Department of Transportation sent roughly 750 separation notices to union and non-union employees who had not yet provided proof of vaccination or had a waiver. The agency has 6,807 employees.

By Friday, Abrudan noted that “about 350 have been rescinded — meaning that employees have shared their intent to stay with the agency and started the vaccination process though they may need to take leave to be fully vaccinated” after Oct. 18.

WSF SERVICE CUTS

Late last week, WSF said crew shortages had forced a  daunting drawdown on the number of ferry sailings.

The ferry system cut back the number of ferry sailings and reduced service on most routes starting Saturday, Oct. 16.

Ferry officials said the cutbacks “will help offer more predictable and reliable service systemwide in the face of crewing shortages, due to a global shortage of mariners that has been worsened by the pandemic.”

Two-boat service was cut to one ferry only on the Edmonds-Kingston, Seattle-Bainbridge, and Mukilteo-Clinton routes, starting Saturday.

Other routes in the system that have three or four vessels also lost a vessel, and runs served by two or three boats were cut back, as well.

In a message to staff earlier this month, WSF Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello thanked those who were still showing up for work.

“The vaccination requirement has led some staff to make difficult decisions regarding their continued employment with the agency,” Rubstello wrote. “However, it is unacceptable to leave first responders, families, and hardworking WSF employees without safe and reliable ferry service.”

She noted that workers “may see negative news coverage surrounding the actions of a few that reflect poorly on WSF workers and the agency. Know that your management, your labor unions, and the majority of customers support you and appreciate your service.”

STATE PATROL HIT

Other state agencies reported the loss of hundreds of employees who refused to get vaccinated.

The Washington State Patrol said Tuesday that 127 workers were no longer employed by the end of Monday, the deadline for state employees to provide proof of vaccination or get an approved exemption and accommodations for religious or medical reasons.

The losses include 53 civil servants and 74 commissioned officers (67 troopers, six sergeants, and one captain).

The State Patrol has approximately 2,200 employees.

In a message to others in the agency late Monday, WSP Chief John R Batiste said: “COVID is a killer and the state is taking action intended to improve public safety. I thank you for staying on post and staying in service to this state and agency. Better days are ahead. Believe that and know I believe in you.”

PUD LOOKS AT MANDATE

In Jefferson County, Jefferson County Public Utilities District General Manager Kevin Streett said the organization was in the process of developing a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all employees.

Citing the need to comply with state mandates and to safeguard the health of employees, their families, customers, and the community at large, Streett said the decision was made in response to both the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the issuance of Inslee’s vaccination requirement.

“The PUD currently has contracts with Washington State Department of Transportation, and as part of the performance of that contract, our personnel are subject to the vaccination requirements,” Streett noted.

Although some PUD employees, particularly office workers, would not be subject to the requirements, after consulting with management and labor union representatives, Streett said a decision was made to have a single policy covering all employees.

Streett had told both staff and PUD commissioners during their Oct. 4 regular meeting that that they would not be able to meet the Oct. 18 deadline.

He said discussions were still underway with both the Laborers Union (which represents water and customer service staff) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (which represents electrical and warehouse staff).

While Streett stated there was no dispute with the unions about the need for compliance, they were bargaining over details of the implementation.

He also told staff and the commission that employees in need of an exemption due to a medical reason, or because of a sincerely held religious belief, would be able to submit a request for accommodation.

As the PUD’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is not complete, exemption and accommodation forms have not been distributed.

“We will be providing more information as the policy and timelines are finalized,” Streett said.

Comments

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  • libbyurner

    Headline is pretty sensationalized. If you read the article, only 5% of employees of both Washington DOT and Washington State Patrol are choosing to leave their jobs rather than get vaccinated. Yes, that's hundreds of people. But it's a tiny percentage of the workforce of either agency.

    I'm sure the ferry service and WSP will be hiring soon into those good living wage jobs, looking for people willing to do the right thing for protecting public health, rather than trying to make routine vaccination be some kind of misguided political statement.

    Wednesday, October 20 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    This is not "routine vaccination".

    " some kind of misguided political statement" You mean like these.....

    "Harris was asked in a Sept. 6, 2020, interview whether she would take a vaccine if it was approved before the election. She replied: "Well, I think that's going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump. And it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about. I will not take his word for it. He wants us to inject bleach. I — no, I will not take his word.

    In an interview for a journalism conference Aug. 6, 2020, he( Biden) said:

    "The way he (Trump) talks about the vaccine is not particularly rational. He’s talking about it being ready, he’s going to talk about moving it quicker than the scientists think it should be moved … . People don’t believe that he’s telling the truth, therefore they’re not at all certain they’re going to take the vaccine. And one more thing: If and when the vaccine comes, it’s not likely to go through all the tests that need to be done, and the trials that are needed to be done."

    Wednesday, October 20 Report this

  • Dage Corvish

    Racist Rubber Chicken bounces his same whataboutism for at least the fifth time, indicating the severity of his BDS. If we applaud, perhaps he will repeat his frequent Obama quotes.

    One day, like magic, it will disappear, but not today.

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Thanks Corvish. Just proved yall cant quit the name calling. Your the same type of person who yelled slanderous names at people during the Civil rights movement. The same type of person that joins the herd and eventually the mob.

    Libby, you too are assuming its political. Your current president (and might I add the most popular President in history) and vice president (least popular in history) made it so. Its not political. Its also not routine. Its a personal choice.

    Hypocrisy knows no bounds. Y'all preach about inclusion and diversity until someone disagrees with what you've been indoctrinated with.

    I respect yalls decision but you cant respect ours. You put a political label on it. Its not. But that's what TDS gets you. Someday yall will see past your hate. Maybe sooner that later as its "gonna be a long dark winter"! - joe biden

    BTW. Lets go Brandon!

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Thanks Corvish. Just proved yall cant quit the name calling. Your the same type of person who yelled slanderous names at people during the Civil rights movement. The same type of person that joins the herd and eventually the mob.

    Libby, you too are assuming its political. Your current president (and might I add the most popular President in history) and vice president (least popular in history) made it so. Its not political. Its also not routine. Its a personal choice.

    Hypocrisy knows no bounds. Y'all preach about inclusion and diversity until someone disagrees with what you've been indoctrinated with.

    I respect yalls decision but you cant respect ours. You put a political label on it. Its not. But that's what TDS gets you. Someday yall will see past your hate. Maybe sooner that later as its "gonna be a long dark winter"! - joe biden

    BTW. Lets go Brandon!

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • KaiserReagan

    Vaccine mandates work. I'm glad to see these people go. They will continue to be left behind and unfortunately become further radicalized like the rest of Trump's cultists.

    Justin's comments on Harris were in response to the politicalization of COVID by Donald Trump (who refused to take his shots on camera) and wanting the science to be thoroughly vetted by PEER REVIEWED SCIENCE. Not on the world of malignant narcissist and pathological lair.

    We can disagree, but public health and common good come down to agreeing to a set of shared facts and truths. You make up your own facts to fit your specious claims and for that, no - you don't get to play .

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    "refused to take his shots on camera". That's funny. Biden's are done across the street in a make shift office made up to look like he is in the White house. Smoke and mirrors.

    "The third problem encountered by attempts to promote the common good is that of individualism. Our historical traditions place a high value on individual freedom, on personal rights, and on allowing each person to "do his/her own thing." Our culture views society as comprised of separate independent individuals who are free to pursue their own individual goals and interests without interference from others. In this individualistic culture it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to convince people that they should sacrifice some of their freedom, some of their personal goals, and some of their self-interest, for the sake of the "common good." Our cultural traditions, in fact, reinforce the individual who thinks that he/she should not have to contribute to the community's common good, but should be left free to pursue his/her own personal ends." - from Santa Clara University written by Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez

    The common good is not calling for the separation of people, its about working together. Shot or no shot alot of you are creating division along with our heads of state. You find pleasure in celebrating the death of sick individuals who did not get a shot. You celebrate people and families losing their jobs. You celebrate inclusion only if everyone agrees with you. You treat everyone as if they are sick. Innocent until proven guilty. Sick until proven healthy. You belittle those who don't do as you do.

    Since we are back to politics. Trump lies, biden lies. Biden said to migrants "come to our country". Now he says dont. Biden said we not get rid of coal. But we are. And they arent being vaccinated. Biden said he would never force a mask mandate. But here we are. Biden said the new Trillion dollar request will cost zero. I dont know a world where you get trillions from zero. Biden said its safe to leave Afganistan. It wasnt. Biden said they got the terrorist. He lied and it was an innocent family. Im waiting on him to end cancer. Another false promise. Eulogy for Klan member. Not racist? "poor kids are just as smart as white kids', Joe biden. Superpredators. Joe Biden. Student debt? Thought he was fixing that. Border patrol whipping migrants. Not true. Determining innocence or guilt from his podium before investigations. Thats wrong. Families still in Afghanistan.

    Biden is sick. He is in mental decline. He cant keep numbers or sentences straight. 40 years in congress and nothing but plans. Go look at all his plans now and tell me which ones were successful. Shame on his family for continually putting him in front of people. Its an embarrassment and cruel. And for being the most clairvoyant administration, he ignores and doesnt answer the hard questions. Not with anything that makes sense. He's done more racist things than anyone I know. It should make one think why they supported him. Oh, because orange man bad. Enjoy your gas, enjoy your expensive and diminishing food supply.

    There's some facts for you. And yes we do get to play. The rules just change since Biden can change his promises. I still support community and people and good human beings. Some of you should know where you stand but I will wish the best for you either way.

    LETS GO BRANDON!

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    My citing Bidens and Harris's comments were in response to Libby's contention that those who choose not to be vaccinated are making "some kind of misguided political statement".

    I know plenty of people who do not want to be coerced into taking an experimental vaccine, there are varied and valid reasons they cite, not one of them says it's for political reasons. On the other hand, you have Biden and Harris, two of the most prominent politicians in this country talking against the vaccine while running against Trump 2020.

    "Vaccine mandates work. I'm glad to see these people go. They will continue to be left behind and unfortunately become further radicalized like the rest of Trump's cultists". ..... So you're glad that citizens should not have the right to decide for themselves what they inject into their bodies? And why do you assume that citizens who choose not to be vaccinated are automatically Trump supporters?

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Exactly.

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • MargeS

    Just-in-hale I thought you were not posting comments anymore? Guess your subscription isn't up yet. You and Dustin have a good time.

    Thursday, October 21 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Marge,

    The pure and simple fact just that you got on here to poke fun at people truly shows your character.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • MargeS

    Don't take it personal, neither of you use your real names, just a couple trolls.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Bye Marge,

    Justin was correct. Nobody listens to you.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Marge,

    There's my name Marge. You wanna come out and dox me or slander me go right ahead. Here is the definition of trolling which you consistently keep doing:

    A troll is Internet slang for a person who intentionally tries to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments in an online social community. ... Trolls often use inflammatory messages to provoke emotional responses out of people, disrupting otherwise civil discussion.

    Mr. Mann is a troll by this defintion. You are a troll by this definition. How is civil discussion accomplished when you name call?

    HYPOCRISY

    Since Mr. Mann can say it. Your spewing straight up hypocrisy. You instigate conflicts and hostility. Instead of finding common ground you hate. I wish better for you.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • ...

    The leader needs to shut down the comment section. It adds nothing to this newspaper. The leader apparently believes it's driving ad revenue, but all it's doing is destroying the fabric of the city. Most of these keyboard warriors live out in the county and don't even live in this city. The comment section needs to be shut down. People can still write letters to the editor just like we did in the past. End this ridiculousness.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • DUSTIN WILLIS

    Tam,

    The leader is not destroying this city. It gives people a voice. It also lets people know that their words have been cut. Its not your city. it belongs to us. All of us. It also doesn't matter where these folks live.

    Are you saying that some people have no voice depending on where you live? Careful with those words there Tam. Sounds very segregation like in my humble opinion. What if you meant the inner cities? I bet you think they shouldn't have a voice either. its not 1952. The comments section is one of the few things keeping this news outlet going.

    You have the CHOICE to not look at the comments section. This is another example of excluding people because they dont think like you or agree with you.

    There's alot more ridiculousness going on than this comment section. Where were you as they printed Mr. Manns utterly shameful article that preached hate? More nastiness in his letter that these comments sections.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • Guyjayess

    It's The Port Townsend/Jefferson County Leader. It's never been a newspaper for just Port Townsend. So those of us who live out in the county have an equal stake in what news and issues are covered.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    Tam

    The comment section provides a convienient forum where citizens with diverse opinions can immediately have a voice. You may agree or disagree with some of the comments, you are free to add yours or not, no one forces you to read the comment section. Instead you advocate for silence.

    I tend to agree with Justice Brandeis.

    “If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis.

    Friday, October 22 Report this

  • HarveyW

    Tam-

    We live in times of narratives. Perhaps we always have. It seems different people have or believe different narratives. Over the last several years my efforts have been to provide a different narrative to what I see as false narratives in the Leader regarding local corrupted thinking. Some by staff, many by local power players and those who support them, and some by readers who comment or write LTE's.

    One who will remain nameless and comments quite a bit has supported censorship and removal of comments and entire online articles regarding a local favorite son. Don't question authority is the narrative. For some a very flawed narrative, but not all.

    One should always ask and expect to be respectfully corrected or respectfully challenged. A one sided propaganda machine is not a newspaper after a while. It enables corruption. The Fourth Estate is an important aspect that can provide different narratives. Like soft drinks, choose your brand.

    Like soft drinks some narratives that were thought to be better for you turn out not to be. For some, current Vaccines are not yet truly vetted. Diet pop and some butter substitutes over time have fallen from favor. Some still like the narrative regarding them.

    Some are willing to lose jobs over convictions not hastily or carelessly arrived at. Contrary to the narrative Bill Mann and the Leader put to print. Spreadnecks? All problems due to them? Really?

    The issue of Vax evolves with information. Some rush to perceived safety based on authority figures and the narratives they agree on. Many are traumatized, and just want a fast answer. For whatever reasons, including keeping positions or going with the flow, authority figures are often flawed neighbors, in high places. This is a lesson of history. Over and over and over again.

    This week we see in main stream media that Dr. Fauci lied to Congress regarding funding related to the Wuhan lab . Main stream media says this of a sacred cow. Many say if you can tell a "little" lie you can tell a big lie. In main stream media a whole new truth just landed. "Leftist" controlled media like MSN. What will be the next revelation?

    Some are hesitant to cross a bridge they cannot go back over. It is not a careless decision for many. Long live the back and forth in the Leader and elsewhere. In the end we only define ourselves, and fuel narratives for others to buy into or not. Totally or partially. Nothing is black and white. Black and white is simpler. Many dwell there.

    Any regular commenters have any original thoughts on Faucigate? Or, is it un American to discuss yet another flawed human in a position of authority? We are still in the early chapters of this book. Keep reading. Keep thinking for yourself...

    And, agree or not Libby Wennstrom did something no one in local politics does. She commented in this paper. Chips fall where they may. Gain some votes. Lose some votes, but show your true self. Nothing to hide, right?

    Narratives. Choose yours. Or better yet, combine many for your own true self to understand the world around you, and yourself. We are, after all, just spirits in the material world. I stand to be thoughtfully challenged or corrected.

    Sunday, October 24 Report this

  • MargeS

    Forbes Magazine:

    Critics have seized on this reporting to accuse Fauci of lying when he previously told Congress the NIAID had not funded “gain-of-function” research at the Chinese lab, referencing a controversial method that involves researchers modifying a virus to predict its evolutionary trajectory.

    But Psaki dismissed these accusations at a Thursday press conference, denying that Fauci lied to Congress about the nature of the research and emphasizing that the viruses studied under the grant program were unrelated to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

    The agency has “never approved any research that would make a coronavirus more dangerous to humans,” Psaki said.

    The NIH reiterated this point in a statement to Forbes and said that the research green-lighted by the NIAID in China was determined not to be “gain-of-function.”

    Sunday, October 24 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    "Faucigate?.....I'll be charitable and say that what occurred at the Wuhan BSL-4 was not intentional.

    Sunday, October 24 Report this