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'It's evil': Federal contractors protest Covid-19 vaccine mandate in Decatur

The attorney general's office said it plans to file a lawsuit against the federal mandate once it's in effect.

Posted: Oct 26, 2021 8:08 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2021 9:49 AM

Several protests against the federal COVID vaccine mandate were held outside the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur this week.

"I think it's not only one, a violation of our Constitutional rights to mandate our vaccine, but I think it's evil," ULA welder Hunter Creger said. "I think it's evil what they're doing to us."

It's honestly a lose-lose situation. On one hand, the company risks losing work; on the other, they'll lose their employees.

In the last few weeks, ULA said, several of its contracts were modified with strict requirements to make sure all employees will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Protesters say forcing them to get the vaccine is un-American, but the company says it was done to keep them safe.

In a statement, they said the requirement "places ULA in a much better position to meet the nation's needs and our manifest commitments while protecting the health of everyone at our facilities."

However, not everyone at the protests were ULA employees. Some were there to just protest vaccine mandates.

"Just because I don't work here doesn't mean that it's not coming down (where I work)," Cricket Farr said. "Once it comes down there, I tell you, I'm losing my job. I will not have that job."

The Alabama Attorney General's Office said the vaccine mandate for federal contractors is still in the process of being implemented. There are essentially four separate mandates from the Biden administration, two of which were signed by executive order.

The first is for the executive branch of the federal government. That is now is fully in effect.

The second is for federal contractors and subcontractors. It's in the process of being implemented but expected to be in effect before the Dec. 8 deadline, which is why companies are telling their employees to get vaccinated now.

Required vaccines for hospitals, nursing homes and even companies with more than 100 employees weren't signed by executive order. The Attorney General's Office explained the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and OSHA have to go through a red-tape bureaucratic process of creating rules, reviewing them and more.

Gov. Kay Ivey already filed an executive order to protect the rights of state government employees and state contractors. However, it does not apply to federal workers. Alabama's top mayors had a major role in that decision.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the group of mayors were concerned when they heard of a new law that would prevent any business from requiring a Covid-19 vaccine. That's because the law would have put companies in a difficult position of choosing whether to follow the state or federal order.

The mayors were able to bring their concerns to the governor during a breakfast meeting Monday. Battle said Ivey saw the issue and fixed it right away to make sure those companies wouldn't be stuck in the middle.

"We're a business-friendly state," Battle said. "We are going to make sure we don't put you in double jeopardy. You're going to be able to operate your business in the best matter, best fashion that you can."

Battle and Ivey each said they are fully vaccinated and encouraged people to get the Covid-19 vaccine. However, they are against mandating it.

The AGO said they are planning to file a lawsuit against the federal contractor mandates as well as the OSHA and CMS mandates once they are implemented. There is no timeframe on when that may be, but the goal is to give people in Alabama the right to choose whether or not to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

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