Boeing drops COVID-19 requirement for US employees

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The Boeing Company logo is seen on a building in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, on March 11, 2019. – Tumbling shares in US aviation giant Boeing on Monday tore a hole in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sending the benchmark index into the red for a sixth day.About five minutes into the day’s trading, Boeing shares were down 11.7 percent at $373.23 following the most recent crash of one of its aircraft in Ethiopia.The Dow fell 153.81 points to 25,319.42, but the broader S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 2,758.27 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up an even stronger 0.7 percent at 7,474.61.The fatal crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 — the second involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 in five months — caused airlines in three countries to ground all flights involving the popular jet and cast fresh safety concerns on the airline. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Aerospace giant Boeing said Friday it’s suspending a company vaccination requirement for all U.S.-based employees.

The Seattle Times reports the company adopted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in October to ensure compliance with the federal executive order that required all employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated.

The mandate faced opposition from a vocal minority of Boeing workers.

In an internal company announcement, Boeing told employees its decision to suspend the mandate “comes after a detailed review of a U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month that halts the enforcement of a federal executive order requiring vaccinations for federal contractors.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal, who is vaccinated, told the newspaper he still wants “to encourage every one of our workforce to get vaccinated.”

Pointing to how critical vaccination is for hope of a global air travel recovery, Deal added that “the world, and the airline industry, will recover under vaccination.”

Boeing’s statement cited “over 92% of the company’s U.S.-based workforce having registered as being fully vaccinated or having received a religious or medical accommodation.”

That means 8%, or about 10,000, U.S. employees could have been under threat to lose their jobs under the mandate.

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