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Raytheon joins large corporations mandating vaccinations for employees
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Raytheon joins large corporations mandating vaccinations for employees

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Workers at Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Collins Aerospace hub in Winston-Salem will be required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1 as a condition of employment.

Raytheon said in a brief statement that the policy is designed “to further protect employees and communities from the risks and uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants.”

Employees have until Jan. 1 to meet the fully vaccinated requirement. The company said it is among “the first major defense contractors with such a rule.”

President Joe Biden's sweeping new federal vaccine requirements is certain to face a barrage of legal challenges alleging government overreach.

Similar to many employers, Raytheon said there are exceptions for employees with medical conditions or “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Raytheon did not provide details beyond the statement to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Bloomberg News quoted a Raytheon official as saying non-compliance with the rule would be handled like other breaches of policy, with termination a possible outcome.

“The company plans to consult with unions and other worker groups before implementing the plan,” according to the Bloomberg report.

When the brunt of the pandemic began to be experienced in mid-March 2020, the local Collins Aerospace operational hub had about 1,500 local employees.

Although the company has made significant job cuts in Collins Aerospace, it has not provided an updated local workforce count.

Raytheon’s mandatory vaccination policy was disclosed six days after President Joe Biden issued Sept. 10 an executive order that requires private employers with more than 100 workers to mandate immunizations or offer weekly testing.

According to The Associated Press, about 100 million Americans could be affected by the order.

Several large employers with operations in North Carolina have implemented their own similar vaccination policy, including Walmart, Hanesbrands Inc. for office employees, Tyson Foods Inc. at its Wilkesboro plant, and Allegacy Federal Credit Union.

According to the employer research firm Zippia, there are 1,028 corporations based in North Carolina with at least 100 workers.

In the Triad and Northwest N.C., those include Hanesbrands, Reynolds American Inc., Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Unifi Inc., The Fresh Market, Universal Furniture International, Tanger Factor Outlets, Culp Inc., ConvaTec, Qorvo, Renfro, Pike Electric, Insteel Industries Inc., and Volvo Trucks.

The AP reported that while there has been significant pushback from Republican lawmakers and conservative advocates, some large employers expressed relief that Biden’s order relieved them of the responsibility of implementing their own vaccination protocols.

Mark Owens, president and chief executive of Greater Winston-Salem Inc., said last week that his staff has spoken with several large employers about their vaccination policies.

“We are encouraged by the measures many have already taken,” Owens said.

“We are awaiting final guidance from the Department of Labor to fully understand how the implementation of President Biden’s plan will impact our business community.

“We continue to encourage individuals to take efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus so we can get our businesses and community back to normal.”

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@rcraverWSJ

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