Federal contractors for ULA have until end of business on October 29 to get first shot

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) -We’re on your side with a choice facing workers across the nation and here in the Tennessee Valley: get vaccinated, or lose your job.

According to President Biden’s executive order, the deadline for federal contractors to be vaccinated is December 8.

But we’re told, United Launch Alliance in Decatur will start suspending workers for not having their first shot by the close of business Friday, October 29.

A contractor for ULA tells us employees will be put on suspension, pending their resignation if...
A contractor for ULA tells us employees will be put on suspension, pending their resignation if they haven't received the first shot by end of day on October 29.(WAFF)

But we learned Thursday an organizer of protests outside ULA over the vaccine mandate, has already been suspended.

His name is Hunter Creger. He says he and a few dozen others started protesting after learning their religious and medical exemptions were denied.

When Creger went to work Wednesday morning, he was told he was suspended, but not given a reason why, he tells WAFF.

“Please submit your proof of COVID vaccination to ULA medical no later than Friday, October 29, 2021. If you do not submit proof of vaccination, do not report to work on your next scheduled work day after October 29,” an automated voice recording said.

That’s part of a robo call from United Launch Alliance Hunter Creger shared with WAFF. Creger tells us this message went out to everyone at ULA who hasn’t gotten the shot.

“If you don’t have record with ULA medical, they will be tuning your badge off by end of day on Friday,” Creger said.

But Creger, a devoted catholic who refuses to get the vaccine, was already suspended on Wednesday.

“I went in normal time at 7 o’clock and my manager was waiting for me. He said, ‘hey you’re not allowed to touch hardware until you have a meeting with HR.’ They said that they were putting me on suspension, pending an investigation,” he explained.

But come Friday, his resignation will begin being processed.

“You’re saying either submit, or you’re out of a job. I already made it very clear that I will not be resigning. I didn’t sign anything in my contract when I started with the company, saying that I will be taking an experimental vaccine as a condition of my employment,” he said.

Creger says he’s been a hardworking contractor for ULA for the last two years. He loves what he does, but not enough to get the vaccine.

“I don’t believe in the fetal cell lines that are used in this vaccine. I know that a lot of the things that people have been saying are, ‘the Pope says it’s ok.’ And the Pope is directly contradicting church teachings by saying that the vaccine is ok,” Creger said.

For people in this situation like Creger, do they qualify for unemployment?

We took that question to the Alabama Department of Labor; its only received a handful of these claims and are deciding on a case by case basis.

“Go ahead and file the claim. Someone’s going to reach out to you to adjudicate that and going to get your side of the story, get the employers side of the story and make the determination based on that,” communications director for ADOL, Tara Hutchison said.

Creger tells us he’s filed a grievance with the Machinists and Aerospace workers union in Decatur. He says he plans to keep fighting.

In a statement , ULA says they are requiring the vaccine to ensure the health and safety of their employees and align with the industry direction.

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