King: State needs to fast-track the rehiring of workers fired over COVID vaccine mandate

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and the ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee, issued this statement today in response to the news that King County Metro will fast-track the rehiring of workers who were fired for not complying with the county’s now-expired COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“It’s time for Governor Inslee and his administration to follow King County Metro’s lead and quickly rehire state employees who were fired over not complying with the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, especially those in high-demand fields like ferry workers.

“His heavy-handed and unnecessary mandate, which dragged on until mid-May, is a key reason why our state’s ferry system is woefully understaffed and failing to provide the reliable service people should be able to expect. With the summer tourist season upon us, it’s especially important to boost the ferry system’s workforce as soon as possible.

“Our citizens’ travel needs are negatively impacted daily because of the lack of ferry staff. Everyone knew there were staffing problems even before the governor’s mandate. His firing of ferry workers only exacerbated the problem.

“The governor has finally seen fit to end his vaccine mandate. Now he needs to fast-track the rehiring of workers he fired– and soon – so their skills and experience can once again benefit the people of our state.”