COVID-19 information and resources

PROTEC17 is committed to providing updates and information to you about COVID-19, especially in regard to what we are doing to make your workplaces as safe as possible. Below you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions, reputable resources on COVID-19, as well as our communications to members and employers on the subject.

If you are concerned about your rights or benefits related to COVID-19 during this time (telecommuting, sick leave use, etc.), please reach out to your Union Representative. PROTEC17 staff are working hard (remotely) to help members during this challenging time.

Vaccination Mandate Information

PROTEC17 is committed to a healthy, safe, and productive working environment for all members. This is our number one priority. We will be exercising our ability to negotiate with employers to ensure that members have a say in important decisions, including if, when, and how they get vaccinated, and other impacts of vaccination directives.

FAQs on Vaccine Mandates

Which PROTEC17 employers have mandated COVID-19 vaccinations?

The City of Seattle, King County, and the State of Washington have announced vaccine mandates that go into effect on Oct. 18, 2021.

Does my employer have the right to require vaccinations?

Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and previous U.S. Supreme Court cases have affirmed that it is legal for employers to require vaccinations with some religious and health exemptions. Many employers, both public and private, are now requiring COVID-19 vaccination as more individuals are becoming infected and as health systems are being overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients.

What is PROTEC17 doing in response to the mandate?

Because of our union, we have the right to negotiate the impacts of any changes to our wages, benefits, and working conditions with our employers. We will be exercising this right to bargain the vaccine requirement policy so that it is implemented fairly and protects those who have cannot or have not yet been vaccinated for legitimate reasons.

How do I request a religious or medical exemption from the mandate?

If you need accommodations for religious or medical reasons, please contact your Human Resources Department. If you need help navigating this process, please reach out to your Union Representative.

If my employer has mandated the COVID-19 vaccine, will I lose my job if I don’t provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 18?

As of right now, the deadline for vaccination is Oct. 18, which means that employees must get their second dose by Oct. 4 in order to reach full vaccination by the deadline. If employees fail to provide proof of vaccination or exemption by that date, they will be subject for dismissal for failing to meet job qualifications. Any dismissal actions will follow the process and procedure outlined in our contract.

Resources on Vaccine Mandates

Vaccine Mandates Memorandums of Agreement

Vaccination Resources

FAQs on COVID-19

Q: How serious is COVID-19?

A: The majority of reported illnesses are mild, with fever and cough, but a smaller percentage of cases are severe and involve pneumonia, particularly in elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions. People have died of this illness, so it’s important to try and stop it from spreading as best we can by staying home whenever possible. Because this is a new virus, scientists and public health experts are still studying it. Those at higher risk include people: over 60 years of age; with underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes; with weakened immune systems; who are pregnant.

Q: If I feel sick, what should I do?

A: If you have symptoms like a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory problems, you should call your health care provider. In Washington, you can also call this hotline at 1-800-525-0127 (open 6am to 10pm, seven days a week). In King County, Washington, you can reach the county’s call center from 8am to 7pm at (206) 477-3977. Call your health care provider before you go in to see them so they can prepare their staff and stay safe while they treat you. You should also stay home from work and away from public places.

Q: What if I’m out of paid sick time?

A: We are working with employers to keep everyone safe and healthy. Many of our employers are following the CDC’s best practices, which encourages people to stay home when they are sick, and are being flexible with employees who have depleted leave banks. If you have specific questions about using your leave benefits, please reach out to your Union Rep.

Q: Can I work from home/telecommute?

A: We are working with employers to arrange alternative working schedules for non-essential personnel wherever possible. Many of our employers have already allowed for telecommuting, and/or are being flexible with the use of leave time. Please contact your Union Representative if you are having difficulty making an alternative arrangement.

Q: Will I get paid and keep my benefits if I am quarantined due to COVID-19?

A: Washington State has made an emergency ruling that health care workers and first responders have access to workers compensation benefits if they are quarantined. We are currently working with our employers to ensure everyone has access to paid leave and benefits if they are quarantined. We are also monitoring federal law for emergency benefit legislation. If you have a question about your benefits, contact your Union Representative.

Q: Is my job considered essential?

A: Based on federal and state guidelines, many government jobs fall under the essential category — but this does not necessarily mean that you need to be working at your office if your work can be done remotely for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact your Union Representative if you have questions about whether your work is essential or you are having trouble making a telecommuting arrangement.

Q: Will there be layoffs?

A: We are talking with employers daily and keeping tabs on federal and state mandates with regard to temporary layoffs so that we may address any impacts to our members. As for the long-term, it is too soon to determine what the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis will be on employers moving forward. But one of the many benefits of being in a union is that the process for potential layoff scenarios is explicitly defined in your contract. Should we reach that point, we will work with employers to minimize the impacts on our members as much as possible.

Informational Resources/Links

Federal Resources:

Federal Emergency Sick Leave Law

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC Workplace Guidance

Guidance on Essential Workforce, U.S. DHS

Washington State:

Washington State Department of Health

Dept. of Health COVID info by phone: 800-525-0127 or text: 211-211

WA Dept. of Health BLOG

WSLC COVID-19 Resources for Workers

The University of Washington

UW Institute for Health Metrics

Employment Security Department of Washington State

WA ESD Unemployment Flowchart

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Essential Workforce, Office of Gov. Inslee

WA Labor & Industries

WA L&I Workers’ Rights and COVID-19

To report a workplace violation (COVID-19 related) to WA L&I: 1-800-4-BE-SAFE

Oregon:

Working People and Coronavirus in Oregon

Oregon Health Authority

Multnomah County COVID-19 Info

Oregon Employment Department

Oregon AFL-CIO COVID-19 Resources

Oregon AFL-CIO Unemployment Claim Workshop

King County: 

King County COVID-19 Factsheet

Public Health — Seattle & King County

Other Health Departments:

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Snohomish Health District

Whatcom County Health Department

Skagit County Public Health

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

Kitsap Public Health District

Mason County Public Health

Grays Harbor Public Health & Social Services

Jefferson County Public Health

Cowlitz County Health & Human Services

Clark County Public Health

San Juan County Health & Community Services

Island County Public Health

Other Resources:

Proper use of a cloth face mask

Tips and tricks for wearing cloth face coverings

We have a limited number of PROTEC17 barrier masks (NOT N95). If you are working on the front lines and would like one, please email your Union Representative.

Communications, Memos and Agreements

All Members:

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – May 12

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – April 23

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – April 3

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – March 24

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – March 17

Email to ALL PROTEC17 Members – March 3

King County:

MOA – Emergency Childcare Reimbursement

MOA – COVID leave extension – Jan. 2021

MOA – King County COVID site staffing – April 27

Email to King County members re: COVID-19 MOA – April 8

MOA: King County Coalition of Unions – COVID-19 paid leave – April 6

Email to KC Transit Chiefs and Sups – March 27

Email to KC Members – March 20

Email to KC Public Health Members – March 19

Email to King County Members – March 6

City of Seattle:

MEMO: reduced parking costs for City of Seattle employees – March 24

Email to City of Seattle Members – March 20

Email to Seattle Public Utilities Members – March 17

Email to City of Seattle Members – March 11

City of Portland:

FFCRA Extension – April 2021

Advanced Leave LOA – Dec. 2020

FFCRA Extension – Dec. 2020

Email to City of Portland members – June 4

FAQ: Portland LOA – COVID-19 Impacts

LOA: COVID-19 Economic Impacts

Email to City of Portland members – May 1

Email to Portland members re: COVID-19 impacts – April 14

LOA: Summary of Portland COVID-19 Emergency Benefits – March 25

Email to City of Portland Members – March 25

Email to Portland Members – March 16

State of Washington:

Email to State DOL Members – April 1

Email to State Members – March 20

Other Members:

Email to Clark County Members – March 26

Email to Pierce County Members – March 23

Email to Spokane County Members – March 23

Other Resources and Ways to Help