The Boeing Company told US employees on Tuesday that they must get the COVID-19 vaccine or face the possibility of termination. The deadline for employees at the aerospace giant to get the jab is December 8. The policy will apply to approximately 140,000 employees throughout the company.
A Boeing internal presentation 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 yet announced a vaccine mandate, however, as a federal contractor, the company will likely have to do so. Southwest and American Airlines, both based in Texas, have also mandated the vaccine for employees and faced strong opposition from employees, especially pilots.
One employee told The Post Millennial regarding the email that it "...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."
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."