Washington government employees have differing views on Biden's vaccine mandate

On Thursday, people across Western Washington showed strong reactions to President Joe Biden’s sweeping rules addressing unvaccinated people

The new requirement means all companies with 100 or more workers will have to ask workers to get the vaccine or weekly COVID tests. 

The rule is even stricter for federal workers and contractors who will not have the option to take tests to avoid the vaccine. 

Tacoma resident Christy Donahue snapped pictures on the day she got vaccinated.

She is 100% behind Biden’s vaccine mandate that addresses two-thirds of all workers in the US.

"I do not have any problems with it," Donahue said. 

"My boyfriend is a contractor for the government. He has different views he doesn’t think it’s ok," Donahue said.

Donahue is also a federal worker employed by the VA. Although she is happy with the new developments, it’s a different emotion for union leaders.

"It creates a lot of headaches," John Pfannenstein with AFGE Local 3937 said.

Pfannenstein represents thousands of workers who work for the Social Security Department including many in the Auburn area. He says his job is not to get into vaccine politics, but to represent all his members fairly.

"We have employees with all different kinds of philosophical and health or otherwise, we are required under statute to represent all of them equally or fairly," Pfannenstein said.

Pfannenstein says legally the government can tell employees to get a shot. But AFGE says they will be fighting to set parameters and negotiate the best path forward.

One of Pfannenstein’s fear is that some will walk away from a department already dealing with staffing shortages.

"We are seeing a record number of baby boomers filing for retirement, I mean that’s a huge demographic," Pfannenstein said.

But others who support Biden’s move say there is no question that it will lower the number of people who are unvaccinated which stands at around 80 million people across the nation. 

Donahue says she will feel safer with more around her vaccinated. 

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