A shipbuilder for the United States Navy has suspended the implementation of its Covid-19 vaccine mandate after a large number of employees threatened to quit.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced that it would no longer be going ahead with its mandate in a letter published on November 16th. The letter, which was written by HII CEO Mike Petters, confirmed that employees will no longer be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine by January 4th, 2022.
The letter stated: “With respect to Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding, our customer has confirmed that our contracts do not include a requirement to implement the [vaccine] mandate. In light of this development, we are hereby suspending the deadline for vaccination, except where specific [HII] Technical Solutions contracts require it.”
Initially, the company announced that all 25,000 employees would have to be fully vaccinated by December 8th, as a “condition of continued employment.” The deadline was later moved to January 2022 before it was ultimately suspended on November 16th.
Despite suspending the mandate, the shipbuilder clarified that it is still “monitoring the fluid situation with [its] shipyard customers.” The company stated that the suspension of the vaccine mandate will be lifted the moment it becomes a contractual requirement and that HII “may choose to implement other measures aimed at improving workforce vaccination rate.”
“We continue to strongly urge vaccination of all employees,” the shipbuilder said.
Currently, mask mandates continue to be in place at all HII facilities. The company did not answer questions about the Covid-19 vaccine being compulsory for new employees before their first day of work.
Additionally, the November 16th letter also said: “Implementation of the federal government’s vaccine mandate has been a complex undertaking. We have not wanted to lose a single employee to the virus, or to the effect of the mandate.
Read More: US Navy Shipbuilder Suspends Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate After Employees Threaten to Quit