UNION, W.Va. (WVVA) - Union members stage a demonstration today protesting their employer's COVID vaccine mandate. Employees walked out after their shifts this afternoon to protest the mandate.
The facility is owned by Raytheon Technologies and the plant employs about three hundred people making it the largest private employer in the county. The company is calling for the workforce to be vaccinated as a term of employment. A huge chunk of the workforce there isn't willing to be vaccinated.
Now, one out of every three employers is facing layoff if they remain un-vaccinated and it isn't sitting well with those workers. The demonstrators say they're willing to take things as far as they can.
"There's only so much we can do at a local level. So the United Steelworkers they seem to be willing to take it as far as need be. To try and get some relief so that people who don't and basically all we're after is for it to be your choice." said Union President, Brian Laxton.
"Push it as far as we can push it and see where we can get." added Union Vice President, Justin Page.
The demonstrators also discussed why they do not want to get vaccinated against COVID.
"It just scares me more than the virus cause there's just not been enough studies done I don't feel. I believe it should everybody's choice whether they want to be vaccinated or not." said Page.
"I've had COVID, my family has had COVID. It's a personal choice for me. There's a fear as far as everything you see on the internet and everything you see today. Different things keep coming out regularly and so that's my personal choice." added Page.
Employees will have until January 1 to be fully vaccinated or they will likely be laid off. It is not clear at the moment whether the union and the company will reach an agreement. We will continue to monitor developments and share updates as the information is made available.