Boeing employees protest vaccine mandate in Everett

Oct 15, 2021, 3:27 PM | Updated: 5:19 pm
Boeing employees outside the Machinist union hall on Friday. (KIRO Radio, Nicole Jennings)
(KIRO Radio, Nicole Jennings)

A few dozen people stood in the rain outside the Machinist union hall in Everett on Friday protesting the vaccine mandate Boeing announced this week.

John Mulhall started at Boeing 35 years ago, when he was 19, and he told KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings that he believes the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

“Joe Biden is a tyrant and this is incremental tyranny,” Mulhall said. “Everyone has a hill that they have to die on and I’m prepared to die on this hill because this is about freedom. This is about standing up to tyranny.”

Boeing announced on Tuesday that all employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or get an approved exemption by Dec. 8, 2021.

As a federal contractor, Boeing says it is under order from President Joe Biden to require employee vaccinations.

The Machinist union released a statement on Friday, acknowledging that the mandate is a divisive issue for its members, asking employees to choose “between beliefs or their jobs.” The mandate does not allow for a testing option, unless approved for medical or religious exemption.

“We are not anti-vaccine, but we disagree with a vaccine mandate. We don’t believe that is right,” the union wrote in its memo.

In Snohomish County, where Boeing Everett is located, the public health district says 494,939 people are fully vaccinated, as of Oct. 12. That’s 70% of people 12 years and older.

As of Oct. 11, the Washington State Department of Health reports that 77.6% of the eligible population (ages 12+) in the state had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The DOH reports 71.4% is fully vaccinated. 

Find a location to get vaccinated here. 

Constitutional right? 

There is no constitutional right in jeopardy under a vaccinate mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1905 during the Jacobson v. Massachusetts case, to uphold the authority of states to enact a compulsory vaccination laws. 

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has addressed that it’s legal under federal law for companies to require employees get vaccinated before entering the workplace. Exceptions are made for pregnancy, religious beliefs. and health complications. 

The EEO states: “The federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions of Title VII and the ADA and other EEO considerations.” 

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Boeing employees protest vaccine mandate in Everett