Boeing tells workers they must get COVID-19 vaccine
SEATTLE -- The Boeing Co. has told employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or possibly be fired.
The Seattle Times reports the deadline for workers at the aerospace giant is Dec. 8.
'úCompliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,'Ě states a Boeing internal presentation from Tuesday viewed by the newspaper. 'úEmployees who are unable to meet these requirements ... may be released from the company.'Ě
Employees can request exemptions 'údue to a disability or sincerely held religious belief.'Ě Any employee granted such an exemption will have to 'úundergo frequent testing for COVID-19'Ě and be ready to 'úpresent a negative test result upon request.'Ě
The policy will apply to roughly 125,000 U.S.-based employees company-wide, with about 57,000 of those in Washington state.
Jon Holden, president of International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751, in his message to members in the October issue of the union paper, wrote that 'úthe reality is our members are polarized on this issue.'Ě
'úIt is our responsibility to defend and advocate for all our members,'Ě Holden added. And though he noted that he and his family are vaccinated, the union must also defend 'úthose who can't or won't accept the vaccine.'Ě
The white-collar union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), said in a statement Tuesday it is engaging with Boeing 'úto ensure implementation gives proper consideration to members' concerns.'Ě
Boeing may face more resistance to the new policy in Republican-controlled states.
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring private companies or any other entity from requiring vaccines.
Boeing has more than 5,000 employees in Texas. It has about 32,000 more at facilities in Alabama, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina.