UNION, WV (WVNS) — A vaccine mandate enforced by a national company is causing concern for people in Monroe County.
Workers at Collins Aerospace told 59News around the end of September, 2021, they received a notice saying all employees need to be vaccinated or they would be let go.
This brought a group of workers together on Tuesday. October 12, 2021. Employees expressed they are upset over the mandate and want to voice their concerns.
“What happened to the HIPAA laws? What happened to the medical laws? What happened to the privacy act, do we have any laws in this country anymore?,” said David Allen, an employee of over twenty years.
Employees said they were given a period between December 8, to the beginning of 2022 to get vaccinated, or provide a medical or religious reason as to why they cannot do so. Many are waiting to see if their exemptions are accepted, if not they will have to leave their jobs.
Susan Pyne spent the last 45 years building a life and creating memories in this job. She currently works with electrical deicing but has spent time in almost every department. Holding back tears, she told us she feels like she is being cast aside by the company she gave so much to.
“I just have to say something, I always thought I would walk out of here with a retirement cake and not a pink slip,” said Pyne.
Nearly all of the workers we spoke with said they were affected by COVID-19 in one way or another.
Employees added they are not against the vaccine, and anyone who wants to get vaccinated should do so, they just want the option to make the choice for themselves.
“It should be my choice, I’ve had COVID,, my kids had COVID, and we seemed to make it through. We understand it’s a serious thing. We’ve had friends that has passed away from it, but it still should be my choice on whether or not to get vaccinated,” said Brian Laxton the president of USW Chapter 1449.
Laxton said the USW is currently in talks with Collins Aerospace to try and reach an agreement.
Protesters said they will continue to speak their minds through the end of the year until an agreement is reached.
While no one group organized the protests, they meet every Tuesday and Thursday at three to try and make sure their voices are heard.
We have reached out to Collins aerospace and are waiting for a response.