Woodland, Washington, elected leaders on Thursday spoke out against recent vaccine mandates in the state, preventing local companies from demanding vaccines for workers.
A passionate Woodland City Council resolution called the mandates “terrible violations of civil rights” and urged workers in need of vaccination to challenge the mandates in court.
The city’s resolution states that Woodland will not need its own employees to vaccinate. Other companies, locally and across the state, should follow suit.
“We strongly encourage employers to follow the example of the City of Woodland and not make the injection of substances into the body of a worker a requirement for employment,” the resolution said.
The resolution was passed with 5-0 votes. Councilors Janice Graham, Carol Rounds, Dave Plaza, DeeAnna Holland and Benjamin Fredricks voted in favor. Councilors Monte Smith and Karl Chapman did not attend. Plaza wrote the resolution.
Mayor Will Finn, the city’s chief administrator and a Washington State Patrol official, said he supported the resolution. Prior to the deliberations, he called Washington Governor Jay Inslee “our tyrannical leader”.
“I think it goes way beyond vaccines,” he said at the meeting. “This is the first step towards losing even more.”
During the discussion, the city councils used a similar language. A comment from a citizen raises the question of whether the city is open to a backlash from the state.
A representative from the governor’s office told OPB the office is unlikely to intervene in Woodland’s resolution.
Washington state must vaccinate workers for the state government, schools, and healthcare companies by October 18, according to guidelines announced by Inslee, as COVID-19 infections have increased across the state.
Woodland spans Cowlitz and Clark counties, both of which have spikes in coronavirus, according to the state.
Cowlitz is in the midst of its largest COVID-19 spike to date. As of August 19, the county had 93 confirmed cases and 15 probable cases. Hospital admissions also peaked in August, the data showed.
Woodland isn’t the first local government to try to resist state mandates. In June, Kelso officials attempted to oppose mask requirements and vaccine evidence at certain events. This resolution failed with 3-2 votes.