AMERICAN NEWS Oct 14, 2021 10:52 PM EST
The Boeing Company announced on Tuesday that employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face the possibility of termination. Leaked documents show workers allegedly planning a “sickout” for every Friday beginning October 15. The deadline for employees of the aerospace giant to get the shot is December 8. The policy will apply to the approximately 140,000 employees throughout the company.
According to communications obtained by Human Events, Boeing union workers claim that “Boeing has acted in bad faith” and knew “months ago” that a mandate was coming. Boeing employees told The Post Millennial that they were under the impression that union leadership was fighting the mandates and that a compromise would be worked out, or at the very minimum, a test out option would be provided.
Jon Holden, president of International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751, wrote in his message to members in the October issue of the union’s paper Aero Mechanic, “the reality is our members are polarized on this issue.”
Holden added, “It is our responsibility to defend and advocate for all our members including “those who can’t or won’t accept the vaccine.”
The communications discussing the sickout were tagged #Freedomflu. A rally against the mandate has been planned for Friday from 12 pm to 4 pm at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington. Boeing employees who are not yet vaccinated are required to have the first shot of Moderna’s vaccine by October 27, or the first dose of Pfizer by November 3, or get the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine by November 24. According to internal Boeing emails obtained by The Post Millennial, “A failure to meet the vaccine requirements by the due date would result in an involuntary resignation, not a termination for cause. It is considered a resignation and would not result in any variation of policy for pay out of VAC, PTO, SL, Pension, 401K…”
The email added, “Boeing 100% wants to retain all of our employees. That being said many employees have strong feelings around the recent company response to the Executive order-implementing a Vaccine Requirement.”
A Boeing internal presentation on Tuesday from management to employees via webcast obtained by The Post Millennial stated, “Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment. Employees who are unable to meet these requirements … may be released from the company.”
Employees can request exemptions “…due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief,” and employees granted an exemption will have to “undergo frequent testing for COVID-19” and “…present a negative test result upon request.”
According to an email to Boeing employees obtained by The Post Millennial, “As a US government contractor, Boeing is required to comply with President Biden’s recent executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccines for federal contractors.”
Amazon has not announced a vaccine mandate, however, as a federal contractor, the company could be required to do so under new rules from the Department of Labor. Southwest and American Airlines, both based in Texas, have also mandated the vaccine for employees and faced strong opposition from employees, especially pilots.
One Boeing employee told The Post Millennial that the email “…is what they sent to the masses, leaving the managers to deliver the details around termination.” The same employee added, “They have opted to not allow for a testing option unless you get a religious exemption. Then it’s weekly testing and testing on demand. I’ll lose my job, and forfeit unemployment insurance. Likely losing my pension due to termination.”
Boeing may face resistance to the new policy in certain states the company operates in. On Monday, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting private companies or any other entity from requiring vaccines. Boeing has over 5,000 employees in Texas and over 32,000 more at facilities in other Republican governed states such as Alabama, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
According to The Seattle Times, “…production in Boeing’s factories is still depressed,” despite ramping up deliveries of the 737 MAX in September, because of manufacturing quality problems since May with the 787 Dreamliners. It is unclear what affect the mandates could have on production of aircraft.
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), said in a statement that they are engaging with Boeing “to ensure implementation gives proper consideration to members’ concerns.”