MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — To adhere to White House guidelines, all federal contract employees must be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8. This mandate will have a great effect on many federally employed people here along the Gulf Coast.
Some of the largest employers in the area, including Austal, are requiring employees to get their first dose by Wednesday, Oct. 27. For weeks, frustrated employees have reached out to WKRG News 5. They feel their rights are being infringed upon.
On Sept. 9, President Biden signed an executive order requiring all employees who do business with the federal government to be vaccinated by Dec. 8. This order covers almost 100 million Americans. One of those employees who works at Austal, who wished to remain anonymous, has been employed there for a little over three years but says there are others who have been there 20 plus years facing this termination.
“For myself, I’ve come to terms with it, but I’m angry,” she said. “And now, they’re going to lose all of us that do not want it, and the thing is a lot of us are good, valued employees up until now.”
The employee, a single mother, says she tried to get a medical exemption but was denied. She says of the 4,000 employees, about 800 aren’t vaccinated. She believes this fight is bigger than just a required vaccination.
“We should have a choice, no matter what anyone else says,” she said. “I could lose everything because I’m going to lose my job. I want to stand up for what I believe.”
A letter sent to unvaccinated employees read in part, “Information regarding the termination process for those choosing not to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will be issued on Oct. 27.”
The questions of what will happen tomorrow can’t be answered. Back on Oct. 15, a representative with Austal told WKRG News 5 they didn’t have any information to provide at the time. We have reached out via email and phone multiple times this week but have been on standby for comment.
On Monday, Governor Ivy signed an executive order calling for the state of Alabama to not impose penalties on businesses or individuals who don’t abide by federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. This mandate also covers Airbus and Ingalls employees.