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Boeing requiring its US workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine

The vaccine mandate is to "ensure compliance with President Biden's executive order for federal contractors," the company said in a statement.

EVERETT, Wash. — Boeing employees based in the United States must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 or risk being fired.

Employees can request exemptions “due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief."

The requirement is to "ensure compliance with President Biden's executive order for federal contractors," the company said in a statement.

The policy will apply to roughly 140,000 employees companywide, with about 57,000 of those in Washington state. 

Workers receiving the Moderna vaccine must receive their first dose by Oct. 27. Those getting Pfizer must get their first dose by Nov. 3. A worker receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine must receive the shot by Nov. 24. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose.

Teamsters Local 174, which represents Boeing employees in Washington state, said in a statement mandatory vaccinations cannot "legally be implemented" on its members without negotiating. The union said it does not believe an employee should be fired for refusing to get vaccinated. 

"These vaccine mandates are especially infuriating when they are being used to abuse our members who have been going to work throughout the pandemic as 'essential workers' while there was no vaccine, and yet these workers exposed themselves and their families every single day to COVID-19 so that our communities could continue to function. Politicians and Employers treated our members as necessary but also expendable and didn’t care about them throughout the pandemic – but now want you to believe they do care. We do not accept that," the statement reads, in part.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), one of many unions representing Boeing workers, said in a statement it is talking with employers to "ensure implementation gives proper consideration to members' health concerns, health issues and abides by the provisions of our negotiated contracts." 

"As the SPEEA Executive Board stated before, we encourage members to get vaccinated for the safety of themselves, their families and co-workers. We also remind members, the mandates stem from a federal directive and our employers’ need to provide a safe working environment for you and your co-workers," SPEEA said in a statement.

Biden is requiring vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. The requirement was announced in September and covers millions of workers.