EVERETT, Washington, October 15 (Reuters) – Around 200 Boeing Co (BA.N) employees and others protested against the COVID-19 vaccination requirement on Friday with signs such as “Coercion is no consent” and “End the mandate” US workers.
Boeing said Tuesday it will require its 125,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated by December 8, under an order issued by President Joe Biden for federal contractors.
As the pandemic rages on, Biden announced the requirement in September as a large segment of Americans opposed the vaccination, despite the fact that vaccinations were free, widely available and declared safe by regulators.
“It’s my choice and it’s my body,” said an avionics engineer, his voice almost drowned out by anti-biden chants and trucks showing their support along the busy street outside Boeing’s Everett facility, north of Seattle .
“It’s an experimental drug that is given under a pseudo-emergency,” he added.
Another worker, an assembly mechanic, said, “This is America. We don’t just do what we’re told because someone says to.”
Earlier this week, Boeing said employees must either have proof of vaccination or have approved reasonable accommodation due to a disability or a genuine religious belief by Dec. 8.
“Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe work environment for our employees,” said a spokesman. “Improving the health and safety of our global workforce is fundamental to our values and is a key priority every day.”
Large US airlines, including American Airlines (AAL.O), have announced that they will also meet the deadlines imposed on federal contractors, as has aircraft parts manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N).
“After he has issued the Executive Order, it is our responsibility to comply with that order,” wrote Tom Gentile, Chief Executive Officer of Spirit, in a memo to employees and was viewed by Reuters on Friday.
Spirit called back former employees to prepare for what Gentile described as “one of the fastest increases in production rates in our industry’s history”.
Boeing has said its mandate will not apply immediately to its Texas locations, where Republican Governor Greg Abbott passed an executive order on Monday that precludes COVID-19 vaccine mandates from any company, including private employers. Continue reading
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Everett, Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O’Brien
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