LOCAL NEWS

‘No evidence’ of sickout by Seattle City Light workers over vaccine mandate

Sep 7, 2021, 6:15 AM | Updated: 10:45 am
seattle city light...
The back of a Seattle City Light truck. (File photo, KIRO 7)
(File photo, KIRO 7)

Seattle City Light said it would be able to keep power on and complete any necessary repairs if there was a sickout Tuesday by employees over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Rantz: Seattle police could lose 200 officers over vaccine mandate terminations

Julie Moore, the director of communications for Seattle City Light, told KIRO Radio on Monday that there had been no confirmation that members of its High Voltage Line Group will carry out the labor action. She says it does not appear that their union leaders are encouraging it.

As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Moore says of about 250 high voltage line workers, only two called out.

“There is no evidence that a coordinated action took place, and there is no evidence that either of the call-outs were related to the vaccine mandate,” Moore wrote in an email to KIRO Radio.

Moore says Seattle City Light is still bargaining with the union to reach an agreement on the rules and conditions surrounding mandatory vaccines.

Gov. Inslee has a vaccine mandate in place for most state workers, which requires they be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or risk getting fired. An identical mandate was announced by King County Executive Dow Constantine for county workers, and by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan at the city-level.

Read the full statement from Seattle City Light to KIRO Radio below, sent on Sept. 6:

Since the beginning of COVID-19, Mayor Durkan has centered the health and safety of City employees who have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 by prioritizing PPE, testing, and vaccines. Vaccines are the single most important way to protect the lives of our City employees and community.

Seattle City Light (SCL) became aware of this possible action on Thursday evening. SCL leadership learned of the potential action through multiple sources. It is not yet clear whether this action will take place on Tuesday. We’re monitoring the situation closely.

SCL learned that some line crew chiefs who are members of IBEW Local 77 are considering an orchestrated action to call out sick on Tuesday, September 7. SCL has heard that this potential action is in response to the vaccination requirement for all City of Seattle employees that will take effect October 18. It’s important to note that none of this has been directly confirmed by the potentially participating staff themselves.

SCL understands that the workers who may be involved in this action are from the High Voltage Line Group, which performs high voltage electrical work on transmission and distribution lines. SCL has plans in place to maintain electrical services to customers and complete critical infrastructure work, should this action take place. These protocols are part of the utility’s Continuity of Operations Plan developed to ensure essential services are maintained. This plan was recently used at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For context, the City continues to bargain in good faith with the Coalition of City Unions, IBEW Local 77, and the police guilds. The City and unions have held multiple bargaining sessions regarding impacts of the vaccination requirement, including sessions about the process for evaluating exemptions, exemption forms, providing accommodations, and the vaccination verification protocols. The City, at this time, believes this potential action by employees is not being driven or supported by union leadership, and the City has been in touch with union representatives regarding this issue.

There had previously been rumors that a sickout for employees with Washington State Ferries could take place over Labor Day weekend. That sickout would have also been over the vaccine mandate, but it didn’t happen. There were no staff-related cancellations on the ferries this weekend.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

Local News

Climate Pledge Arena...
Associated Press

Climate Pledge Arena ready to get Kraken for hockey debut

The first event ever inside Climate Pledge Arena — whether it will be considered the official first event or not — was far from a soft opening.
1 day ago
shipping containers...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Approximately 40 shipping containers adrift off Washington coast

Approximately 40 shipping containers were lost off a ship 43 miles west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the United States Coast Guard.
1 day ago
refugees...
Kathryn Altena

Gov. Inslee, Washington groups prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

In the coming months, 1,400 Afghan refugees are expected to pass through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport upon their arrival in Washington.
1 day ago
King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski...
Nick Bowman

King County Councilmember accused of history of ‘verbally abusive’ behavior toward female staff

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski is facing accusations detailing a history of verbally abusive behavior toward female staff members.
1 day ago
Microsoft campus, vaccine...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Racial harassment allegations at Microsoft campus construction site in Redmond

Racial harassment on the job — that’s what a Black construction employee says he was dealing with for months at the build site on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond.
1 day ago
Jaime Herrera Beutler...
Nick Bowman

Washington Rep. Herrera Beutler breaks from GOP party line again over Bannon contempt vote

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was among nine Republicans who voted in favor of holding Steve Bannon in contempt on Thursday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
‘No evidence’ of sickout by Seattle City Light workers over vaccine mandate