NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Huntington Ingalls Industries, the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding, has suspended its vaccine deadline as of Tuesday.
The company's CEO shared the news in a letter to employees saying the company confirmed that, except for specific contracts, their contracts, "do not include a requirement to implement the mandate."
The deadline suspension goes into effect immediately.
In his letter to employees, Huntington Ingalls CEO Mike Petters said the vaccine mandate's implementation has been a complex undertaking and thanked staff for their patience.
"We have not wanted to lose a single employee to the virus, or to the effect of the mandate," Petters said.
He said the company sought clarification on whether or not their contracts require the mandate and proceeded "in good faith" recently to require vaccination to protect the health and safety of employees.
Upon that clarification, Petters shared the statement suspending the deadline set for January 4.
"With respect to Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding, our customer has confirmed that our contracts do not include a requirement to implement the mandate," Petters said.
After announcing the suspension, Petters noted that the situation is fluid, and if a mandate becomes a contractual requirement, the company will proceed accordingly.
He also said the company still strongly urges the vaccination of all employees, and they may implement other measures to improve workforce vaccination rates.
You can read Petters' full statement below.