March 23, 2020: Update from President Yestramski

Tonight, Governor Inslee announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation, similar to orders that other governors have issued. Our hope is that this order will buy time to slow the spread of COVID-19, so our health systems and front-line workers are able continue providing quality services to Washingtonians in need.

This order—along with expanded telework and leave options for public employees—was among the many recommendations we have provided to the Governor's Office over the past month. As we learn more over the next several hours, we will provide additional updates and guidance on this order.

This proclamation will:

Require every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
Ban all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
Close all businesses except essential businesses.
Grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open, and people can continue going outside as long as they maintain a distance of at least six feet.

By now, telework options should have been extended to all employees who are not deemed essential or emergency staff. If you have not been provided the option to telework, and you believe your job duties may be performed from home, please email your supervisor. Contact your union steward if you do not receive a reasonable response. If you cannot locate your union steward, please email the Member Connection Center at [email protected]

We continue to call on the Governor's Office and State HR to do more to protect public employees and the communities we serve during this pandemic. In addition to proposals outlined in previous emails, we're asking for the following:

  • "Courageous Duty Pay" for essential workers with public-facing job duties
  • Paid admin leave for all high-risk employees with underlying health issues until alternative assignment available for at-home work
  • Paid admin leave for employees waiting on telework setup
  • Mandatory temperature checks upon entry to worksite

Again, if your employer is not following public health guidance on COVID-19, please contact your WFSE steward or email our Member Connection Center at [email protected].