Now that the vaccine mandate has ended as a condition of employment in Washington state, the question remains: Can terminated employees return to work?
King County Council Vice-Chair Reagan Dunn, working alongside State Representative Chris Cory, is drawing up a bill, House Bill 1814, that would allow the employees who opted out of the vaccine to have the opportunity to go back to their old posts.
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“We decided to sort of do a two-pronged approach to try and roll back these terminations that occurred. The county was firing people as recently as January because of the vaccine,” Dunn said on The Jason Rantz Show.
According to Dunn, more than 300 state employees were terminated because they refused to get the vaccine or turn over the required information.
“And a lot more than that number resigned early because they didn’t want to have a termination on their record,” Dunn added. “And here’s the problem. We are short. We have more than 100 vacancies for sheriff’s deputies in King County at a time when crime is at historic highs and drug overdoses are at historic highs. The cartels are moving into our community. We need officers right now.”
The Seattle City Council approved hiring bonuses for police officers of up to $30,000 — as long as they remain with the department for five years. The decision passed on a 6-3 vote last August.
The bonus is part of Mayor Bruce Harrell’s overarching plan to increase SPD’s staff of deployable officers from the current level of sub-1,000 to nearly 1,500 over the next five years.
“Should the [terminated employees] get back pay if they decide to come back?” Rantz asked.
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“I would support back pay. I’d support a bonus one or the other. I will consider both,” Dunn answered. “But I don’t think the taxpayers should be hit too hard for the unfortunate policy decisions of the elected leaders in the downtown Seattle crowd. Its just they beat the heck out of the cops. It’s so tragic.”
King County officials reported more than 98% of its approximately 15,000 employees provided proof of vaccination when the mandate was created. The county also added an additional 4,000 employees since the mandate.
The bill is also sponsored by Representatives Mike Chapman, Mike Volz, Eric Robertson, Cyndy Jacobsen, Dan Griffey, Travis Couture, Jenny Graham, Stephanie McClintock, and Suzanne Schmidt.
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