Vaccine mandates create conflict with defiant workers

BATH, Maine (AP). Josh Chevy Chevalier, a third-generation shipbuilder, has not missed a day at work in the middle of the pandemic. He works as a welder constructing Navy warships off the Maine coast.
He's not ready to quit his job, however, because President Joe Biden has ordered that all federal contractors and U.S. companies employing 100 or more people be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

People are fighting for their constitutional right the way they want it to be. Chevalier is one of hundreds of Bath Iron Works employees who threatened to leave.

Chevalier is one of a few American workers who are deciding whether or not to quit their jobs.

Biden's administration, public health officials, and many business leaders all agree that vaccine requirements must be legal and prudent to prevent a pandemic that has claimed more than 700,000. Americans and almost 5,000,000 worldwide.

The percentage of defiant workers is small, but many cities, states, and businesses report that over 9 out of 10 workers comply with mandates.

They have the potential for disruption in a tight labor marketplace and are the latest obstacle in overcoming vaccine hesitancy, which allowed the COVID-19 crises to spiral out of control this summer. Many objections stem from misinformation.

All types of workers are eligible to refuse, including firefighters, police officers and firefighters, as well as educators and health workers. On Tuesday, Seattle firefighters protested a mandatory vaccination.

Many thousands of people have applied for religious or medical exemptions, but they were denied. Others won't listen to the instructions and quit or were fired.

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On Monday, Nick Rolovich (the Washington State University football coach) was fired from his $3.2million-a-year position, along with four of his assistants. Rolovich was the first major college coach who lost his job due to vaccination status. He claimed a religious exemption, but declined to elaborate. He is now suing.

In the coming weeks, the conflict over mandates will likely grow. Biden's administration will likely move quickly to implement the mandate that all employers employing 100 or more employees must have their employees vaccinated. However, enforcement is unlikely to begin for several weeks. Federal contractors will be subject to the rule in December. There is no option for testing, but many schools, businesses and governments have already implemented mandates.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other organizations representing large employers, has warned that workers may simply move to smaller jobs where they are not required to get vaccinated. The chamber warned that this could cause problems for large retailers as they prepare to enter the holiday season.

People who have quit their jobs to find work that does not require vaccinations are posting information on social media. Employers looking for workers in small companies are turning to online job boards like RedBalloon. Here, employers pledge not to make vaccinations a condition of hiring.

Andrew Crapuchettes is RedBalloons founder, chief executive and said that he created the site for people who want to work but aren't interested in politics.

Some states, such as Texas, Montana, and Florida are preparing to challenge or undercut the Biden mandates. Texas Governor. Greg Abbott issued Monday's executive order barring any entity to require vaccines.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he would call a special session in order to pass legislation to fight vaccine mandates. He said that in Florida, your ability to earn a living does not depend on the choices you make regarding these injections.

Melissa Alfieri Collins, 44, is a mother of two and said that she decided to quit her job as a nurse at Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey rather than continue COVID-19 testing.

Although she was told that the hospital had granted her a medical exemption, she objected that unvaccinated persons be tested. She argued that even vaccined people can spread diseases.

Alfieri-Collins said that she and her family had a long conversation and that I don't want to compromise any of my values anymore. She hopes to be a nurse practitioner and start her own holistic practice.

She said, "I am very sad because I am a nurse who loves my patients and my patients love my,"

Anthony Polenski is the director of strategic partnerships at tech recruitment company He said that he sees candidates who want to know, "Will this company force me into a jab?" Polenski stated that they often leave previous employers due to a mandate to get vaccinated.

He said that they don't want their vaccination status to be attached to their employment.

Union members are growing frustrated at the Maine shipyard.

A group of 100 shipbuilders protested being forced to get vaccines on Friday. They marched down the street holding signs condemning the mandate and using four-letter words to express their opinions about the president and his vaccine mandates.

Over the federal contractor mandate, the union fears losing more than 1,000 workers or 30% of its members.

Dean Grazioso is a 33-year-old Bath Iron Works employee who said he wasn't anti-vaccine, but that he knows of vaccinated friends, family members, and coworkers who have contracted COVID-19. These infections are rare. Vaccinated people who contract COVID-19 are less likely to die or be hospitalized.

The 53-year old is still deliberating whether or not to have the shot.

He said that he was still in the air. But, I have a big decision to make.


Catalini reported from Trenton in New Jersey and Dazio from Los Angeles. This report was contributed by Anthony Izaguirre, Associated Press writer, Tallahassee (Florida).