DECATUR, Ala. — Protesters gathered in front of United Launch Alliance Tuesday to raise their voices against the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The mandate requires federal workers and government contract employees to be vaccinated or face termination.
The workers were calling for medical freedom, religious exemptions, and the right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine.
“We should be able to decide whether or not we want the vaccine for ourselves,” said ULA employee William Colon.
Colon said he has worked for ULA for 20 years, and he’s now fighting for his job.
“If you don’t have that vaccination, you will no longer be allowed to come into this plant and continue to perform your job,” he said. “It’s a crying shame.”
ULA says Colon and all workers at the Decatur plant have until Oct. 29 to get the vaccine. An executive order issued by Biden says Nov. 22 is the deadline for all employees and contractors to be vaccinated.
On Monday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued her own executive order, saying the state will not force workers to get vaccinated. She added that she is all for a vaccine, but she will not be part of a federal mandate.
Protesters in Decatur say that’s not enough.
“I worked really hard to get where I am, and it really sucks that I’m being fired because I don’t want to put something in my body,” said ULA employee Hunter Creger.
ULA released a statement about the mandate that reads in part, “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.”