King County considers rehiring workers fired over vaccine mandate

The proposal is part of an effort to fill hundreds of vacancies at departments like the King County Metro, the sheriff’s office and the park department.

SEATTLE — King County Council on Wednesday will consider “fast-tracking” the re-hiring of employees who have been fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The proposal is part of an effort to fill hundreds of vacancies at departments like the King County Metro, the sheriff’s office and the park department.

The proposal, funded by Councilmember Reagan Dunn, could potentially help fill those roles by prioritizing the re-hiring of employees affected by those duties.

Last month, subway drivers reached an agreement with the union that would quickly re-hire staff if they were fired for not being vaccinated.

Dunn hopes to make that the norm for anyone working for the county.

“They will be offered jobs again, in the agencies they have worked for, with all the seniority they have,” says Dunn.

The county immunization mandate expired on February 6 after nearly two years. King County’s immunization mandate is in place from mid-2021. All county and city employees, contractors, and volunteers are required to present proof that they have received the initial series of COVID-19 vaccines. .

“Now that vaccination requirements have been pushed back, this is our opportunity to bring those public servants back — especially our first responders, including law enforcement. law and emergency workers — have lost their jobs,” Dunn said in February. “Especially as the County continues to struggle to hire enough deputies to fully staff our Sheriff’s Office, we should focus on bringing back and retaining the right officers. experienced, high-quality staff that we desperately need to fully staff our jobs.”

Officials said more than 98% of King County’s nearly 15,000 employees had provided proof of vaccinations by the time the order was put in place, along with nearly 4,000 employees hired since the order was enacted. create. Less than 2% was separated at the time by request.

According to the Department of Human Resources, 281 county employees were fired for failing to comply with vaccine regulations, including 33 employees at the King County Sheriff’s Office. As of August 2022, Dunn said 120 deputy positions remained vacant.

King County Metro had the most terminations of any department, losing 110 required employees. Dunn said the agency is still working to hire nearly 40 vehicle maintenance workers and 100 bus operators.

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Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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