Boeing suspended the COVID-19 vaccine for U.S. employees on Friday, becoming the latest company to abandon the rule amid opposition from some employees and in response to a court ruling blocking federal mandates.
The aircraft giant said in a memo received by the media that its decision was driven in part by a court ruling that blocked President Joe Biden’s mandate to vaccinate federal contractors.
The ruling comes after a detailed review of a US District Court ruling earlier this month that suspends a federal executive order requiring vaccinations for federal contractors, a recent executive directive not enforcing those contractors, and several other laws. states that restrict an employer’s ability to impose mandatory vaccine requirements, ”the company said, cited by Defense One.
Boeing added that about 92 percent of the more than 110,000 U.S. employees have been fully vaccinated or exempted from a mandate that was originally introduced in October in response to a Biden executive order that required all federal contractor employees to be vaccinated.
“Boeing’s successful implementation of vaccination requirements to date allows the company to comply with a federal executive order if reinstated in the future,” Boeing said in a statement citing Reuters.
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request from The Epoch Times about its decision to withdraw from the mandate.
The company’s initial decision to impose the requirement was met with stiff opposition from some Boeing employees, with the Seattle Times reporting a protest involving several hundred people in Everett, Washington in mid-October.
“If I want to get vaccinated, that’s my choice. It shouldn’t be coercion, “Boeing aircraft mechanic Mike Smith, one of the protesters, told the Seattle Times at the time. “The government is forcing corporations to do their dirty work. You are ordered to lose your job, and that is wrong. “
“I’m here for freedom,” Smith said, adding, “This is my body, my choice.”
A federal court on December 7 suspended vaccine requirements for federal contractors nationwide, expanding on a November 30 ruling that blocked it in only three states. The mandate was due to take effect on January 4, 2022, unless it is blocked by a court.
With this move, Boeing is joining a growing list of companies that have decided to remove their COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Earlier this week, Amtrak was the latest to cancel its need for vaccines due to concerns over staff shortages and a shutdown of services in January. In a memo sent to employees received by The Epoch Times, Amtrak CEO William Flynn said the company would waive a mandate that gave employees full vaccinations prior to January 4 or take unpaid leave.
Several hospitals and health systems have also canceled employee vaccinations, citing labor concerns caused by the new requirements.
Earlier in December, Florida-based AdventHealth announced it would end vaccine requirements for approximately 83,000 workers, also citing court orders against federal orders.
Tenet Healthcare, HCA Healthcare and Cleveland Clinic also recently announced that mandates were canceled, citing labor concerns.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.