Thousands of Coast workers could be out of work if flexibility is not given by the federal government and the company.
Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mississippi’s largest federal contractor, is reporting that their COVID vaccination rate among employees is 77%.
According to their company website, the Pascagoula-based company employs 11,500 workers. That would mean over 2,500 workers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs if they do not receive a COVID vaccine at least 14 days prior to the December 8th deadline.
Ingalls has indicated that terminations are the likely outcome if employees do not comply and get the vaccine, saying in September that it will be a condition of continued employment.
This news comes as Ingalls was already seeking to hire 3,000 workers as part of its future growth plans.
Ingalls released the video below on Tuesday. Vice President of Human Resources Edmond Hughes tells viewers if employees plan to receive the Pfizer vaccine, today is the deadline to get the first shot. If they choose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that deadline is November 24th.
Hughes says employees must submit a photo of their vaccination cards by November 24th for verification and proof of vaccination, noting that the company’s goal is a 100% employee vaccination rate.
Earlier this week, the White House released updated guidance related to President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates. The new guidance appears to provide some flexibility for federal contractors, saying that the contractors may be required to provide accommodations for those who do not get vaccinated for COVID because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, adding that the contractor should consider what accommodation it must offer.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has now indicated that the emergency temporary standard to be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will include a provision to allow for periodic testing for COVID as a compliance option. That would be a significant change if indeed that is handed down later this week and should it also pertain to federal contractors.
Ingalls has not said whether they will allow such flexibilities as of this article.
For now, protests along Jerry St. Pe Highway entering Ingalls Shipbuilding have continued, as workers and their families carry signs and raise their voices against what can only be described as federal overreach.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Tuesday that he expects the state to file legal action challenging the federal vaccine mandates later this week. He said the President’s actions “threaten every Mississippian’s individual liberties,” adding that they are “nothing short of tyranny.”