Boeing put a COVID vaccine requirement into effect in October after President Biden mandated that federal contractors vaccinate their workforce or implement regular testing by January 4th, 2022.
The aerospace giant’s announcement on Friday followed other major companies such as Amtrak and General Electric that suspended their own vaccine mandates in the US as a result of the ongoing legal battles that pit states led by conservative attorneys general against the federal government.
A growing number of health care systems, healthcare clinics, and other companies, including Amtrak and General Electric, have also suspended mandates that require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
In an interview with the Seattle Times on Friday after the announcement, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said he still wants “to encourage every one of our workforce to get vaccinated.” He pointed to the important role vaccines play in allowing the global air travel industry to recover from the pandemic, Stars and Stripes reported.
A Boeing spokesperson said:
Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for our employees and advancing the health and safety of our global workforce.
As such, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster if they have not done so. Meanwhile, after careful review, Boeing has suspended its vaccination requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.
Boeing had already vaccinated more than 90 percent of its employees while the mandate was in effect. “The success of Boeing’s vaccination requirement to date positions the company well to comply with the federal executive order should it be reinstated in the future,” an internal Boeing announcement said.
However, over 11,000 Boeing employees sought an exemption from the mandate on religious or medical grounds. That number is roughly nine percent of the company’s U.S. workforce.
Here is the full statement @Boeing sent to its employees about the suspension of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In it, the company directly says the only reason why it had a mandate was becasue of President Biden’s executive order reqiring the vax for federal contractors (1/2) pic.twitter.com/9vZztGUtFv
— Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports) December 17, 2021