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King County judge upholds Port of Seattle’s vaccine mandate

November 13, 2021 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — A King County Superior Court judge has upheld a requirement issued by the Port of Seattle for all Port employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 15 as a condition of employment.

Judge Samuel Chung denied the motion for a preliminary injunction against the mandate sought by two unions representing Port employees in a lawsuit, The Seattle Times reported.

In an email to Port employees Friday, Steve Metruck, the Port’s executive director said, “I want everyone to stay safe, healthy … and remain here at the Port.”

A Port spokesperson said 90% of Port employees have been fully vaccinated. The other 10% have until 5 p.m. Monday to show they are vaccinated. They can also submit an exemption request for medical or religious reasons, or request an extension demonstrating they are in the midst of becoming vaccinated, the spokesperson said.

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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 117 and 763 filed the lawsuit and represent about 225 employees, including police officers and bus drivers.

“We are disappointed that the Port has put our members in a position of having to choose between maintaining their careers or doing something that violates their conscience or risks their health,” the unions said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people are more than six times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, and more than 11 times more likely to die from the disease.

In October, a Thurston County Superior Court judge denied a motion for a primary injunction brought by state troopers, corrections officers and ferry workers against Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate for state workers.