Federal contractors for United Launch Alliance not showing up for work, protesting vaccine mandate

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The deadline for federal employees and contractors to get the COVID-19 vaccine is getting closer.

It’s November 22nd for federal employees and December 8 for federal contractors. That’s based on an Executive Order from President Biden.

Monday, Governor Kay Ivey filed her own executive order relating to a vaccine mandate but it doesn’t cover federal workers.

Multiple workers told us Monday their religious and medical exemptions were denied, so they are...
Multiple workers told us Monday their religious and medical exemptions were denied, so they are taking a stand.(WAFF)

We talked to federal contractors who work for United Launch Alliance in Decatur.

They are furious. Many of these workers say they applied for religious exemptions or medical exemptions to the mandate and some learned last Friday, they were denied.

“I’m sick and tired of being walked on. I’m an American, my family has fought for this country. It feels like a birthright has been taken from me,” Hunter Creger said.

Hunter Creger has been working as a federal contractor for United Launch Alliance for the last two years.

He learned Friday his religious exemption as a catholic against the COVID-19 vaccine was denied. He says this was his dream job but it’s one he’ll walk away from.

“I’ve put in a lot of really hard work at this company and I really enjoy what I do. This is my dream job, and I’m being fired over something that has nothing to do with my merit,” Creger said.

Monday, Governor Ivey issued an executive order saying the state will not force anyone to get a vaccine.

“I’m all for the vaccine, but I’m not going to be a part of any federal mandates requiring you to do something,” Ivey said.

Ivey’s order says the state won’t penalize businesses or people for not following a federal mandate, and adds state employees won’t be required to show proof of vaccination.

Federal contractors and employees at companies with 100 or more workers are still required to get the vaccine under President Biden’s executive order.

“State government’s powers in light of the federal powers are extremely limited. Their best redress will be perhaps in the courts. I think attorney general Marshall is contemplating legal action for federal contract employees. The best case scenario would be that an attorney general somewhere is successful and we get a national injunction to delay and prevent this federal overreach,” Senator Arthur Orr said.

Meantime, some support President Biden’s decision.

“I do agree with some aspects of my body, my choice but I feel like if more people made responsible decisions about their body than maybe we wouldn’t have to deal with this anyway,” Michelle Ashmore said.

A representative from United Launch Alliance sent us a statement, it reads in part,

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the health and safety of the ULA team and everyone in our buildings have been at the forefront of our COVID-19 response. We are monitoring daily White House, Department of Defense and customer direction to ensure our COVID-19 policies are compliant. We have received multiple contract modifications in the last few weeks that flow firm requirements to the company from our U.S. government customer that require all ULA employees to become vaccinated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually every facet of life over the past 18 months. COVID-19 also is a challenge for our business, a business that is critical to national security and civil space endeavors. ULA decided to require vaccinations to ensure the health and safety of our employees and to align with our U.S. government customer and industry direction. This 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.”

“I have a lot of hope that we’ll get enough support that they’ll hopefully reverse this terrible decision that they’ve made. And it makes me feel like we’re not alone,” Creger said.

Creger tells us they will be back out to protest Tuesday morning and afternoon, and he expects close to 100 people will not show up to work.

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