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Monday, December 6, 2021

Navy contractor suspends vaccinations after workers threatened to quit

The naval shipbuilding company terminated its vaccine mandate after workers threatened to quit and the navy confirmed it did not need a mandate.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding, is the world’s only manufacturer of US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The company is also one of two manufacturers of Virginia and Columbia class submarines, employing more than 25,000 workers in Virginia.

Newport previously announced plans to require full vaccinations of all 25,000 of its workers by December 8th. The deadline was later pushed back to 4 January to allow more time.

The deadline is now “on hold” and the request has been completed.

“We didn’t want lose one employee due to a virus or due to a mandate, ”President and CEO Mike Petters wrote in a letter (pdf) to employees on Wednesday.

It is important to note that with regard to Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding, our customer has confirmed that our the contracts do not contain requirements for the fulfillment of the mandate. Technical Solutions employees are located in a different situation and face different requirements depending on the specific contract, ”he added.

The company continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but no longer requires vaccinations upon hiring.

Some employees told local WTKR-News 3 that they felt cheated, claiming that they had become fully vaccinated due to a mandate that is no longer valid.

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“They made me take it and then they lifted it up,” NII employee Deschon Royal told the publication. “I didn’t want to get it, but they said I have to get it, otherwise they are going to fire us. And then they raised it. You did it all wrong for us.

Another HII employee, Rodney Apop, said, “They went ahead and jumped and they had no choice.”

He added: “And now that they [the mandate] away, they would like to know so they don’t have to do it. “

The move came shortly before USW Local 8888 released its research on vaccine requirements.

With regard to the adoption of the mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine, 1,312 voted against 684 votes in favor.

“The world’s best shipbuilders expect more and deserve more from the company and want the negotiators to return to the negotiating table and get their way,” the union said in a letter.

The letter noted that the union is still ready to strike if need be, in order to continue negotiations with company executives.

The Epoch Times has asked the shipbuilders union for comment on the suspension of the vaccine mandate.

To follow

Christopher Burroughs provides the latest news for The Epoch Times.

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