A group of 90 state public sector workers, including Washington State Patrol workers, have filed a lawsuit in Walla Walla County seeking to push back against Inslee's vaccine mandate.

Unlike other similar suits which were recently filed, this one seeks to completely overturn the mandate.

According to information from NW News Network (public radio) and court documents, some of the workers besides WSP include Department of Corrections Officers, various city firefighters, ferry workers, and other public sector employees.

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A Seattle law firm, Arnold and Jacobowitz PLLC, are the ones who filed the suit.

The suit says the mandate violates the State Constitution, and is “arbitrary and capricious,” when it comes to the termination part of the mandate.

The suit also argues that many of these workers are able to work remotely thereby reducing risk, and many of the persons in the suit have already recovered from COVID and are protected by natural immunity.

Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk claims the state has not had a chance to fully examine the suit, but he issued this statement via email which read in part:

“We know these vaccine requirements are legal and essential for saving lives.”

Inslee has already negotiated a 'settlement' with the state public workers union, but it does not nullify the mandate. It simply bends and modifies the terms, such as allowing workers a grace period beyond Oct. 18 if their request for an exemption is still be processed.

The suit also references an internal Inslee Administration email dated August 3 in which his general counsel told the Attorney General's office that religious exemptions should be "as narrow as possible,"  purposefully making it a lot harder for workers to obtain one. The suit says this shows discrimination against religous-faith-based groups and persons.

The suit also asks if the courts uphold the mandate, workers should be allowed to provide proof of negative COVID tests. It also references that early discussion within the Inslee camp showed testing was discussed as an alternative to the vaccine, but was reportedly never decided upon.

It was decided by Inslee and officials that with the vaccines available, they should be required for public sector workers.

Depending upon the various reports that have been generated, public sector groups from the WSP to EMS and county volunteer firefighter units could lose anywhere from 20-30 percent of their workers (including WSP troopers who work the road) even before the alleged "firing" date of Oct. 18th arrives.

 

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