Newport News Shipbuilding employees protest vaccine mandate Friday

Health

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Workers rallied outside Newport News Shipbuilding Friday afternoon to protest the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

This comes a day after Huntington Ingalls said all workers need to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.

Huntington Ingalls COO Chris Kastner notified employees in a memo on Wednesday, days after company president Mike Petters told employees of the Dec. 8 deadline.

If workers don’t get vaccinated, they could lose their jobs, and that’s not sitting well with some. In response, a group gathered along the road near the shipyard in Newport News Friday, some holding signs and flags.

The mandate issued by President Joe Biden says all employees of the executive branch of the federal government, including contractors, would have to be vaccinated and do not have the option to do regular testing instead.

As of Thursday, 59% of shipyard employees were vaccinated, according to officials.

To meet the deadline, all employees and contractors must schedule their first vaccine shot by Oct. 27.

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