Boeing drops vaccine mandate for US employees

Boeing on Friday announced internally that it’s suspending the vaccination requirement for all U.S.-based employees.

The company adopted a vaccine mandate in October to ensure compliance with the federal executive order that required all employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated.

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The mandate faced considerable opposition from a vocal minority of Boeing workers, some of whom insisted they would lose their jobs rather than comply.

In an internal company announcement, Boeing told employees its decision to suspend the mandate “comes after a detailed review of a U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month that halts the enforcement of a federal executive order requiring vaccinations for federal contractors, a recent Executive Branch directive not to enforce the order on those contractors and a number of state laws which limit an employer’s ability to impose mandatory vaccine requirements.”

The statement said that currently “over 92% of the company’s U.S.-based workforce having registered as being fully vaccinated or having received a religious or medical accommodation.”

That implies 8%, or about 10,000 U.S. employees, were under threat of possible termination under the mandate.

Dr. Laura Cain, Boeing chief medical officer, told employees she still wants “to strongly encourage our employees to get vaccinated or get a booster if they have not done so to help protect their teammates, families and communities.”

“According to the CDC, the vaccines are safe, effective and our best tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

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A broad federal vaccine mandate for workers at firms with more than 100 employees was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 4, but has been suspended pending court challenges.

Boeing said it will provide information on the additional requirements that may be necessary for unvaccinated employees in early 2022.

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