Newport News shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls reverses their position on the vaccine mandate and claims they misinterpreted the federal requirement. After further consultations with the federal government, the shipbuilder now says the vaccine mandate doesn’t apply. “This recent information is different from what we understood to be the government’s and the Navy’s intent,” the company said.
Huntington Ingalls previously said all of its 25,000 workers would need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a “condition of continued employment” due to the vaccine mandate for federal workers and contractors. [Media Link] However, Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin said in a Facebook update Thursday that Huntington Ingalls clarified their Navy contracts “don’t include a vaccine mandate at this time.”
[Via Facebook] President and CEO Mike Petters issued a message to employees Nov. 16 indicating that the government’s Jan. 4, 2022, deadline for vaccination is suspended. The message also clarified that after considerable work with the Navy to meet the intent of the mandate, our Navy contracts with Newport News Shipbuilding do not include a vaccine mandate requirement at this time.
This recent information is different from what we understood to be the government’s and the Navy’s intent. As a result of what we know today, some of the related mandate policies and processes will now change. Because employee safety continues to be our top priority, other COVID-related policies will not change.
Here’s what is changing:
• COVID-19 vaccination is not required as a condition of employment for current or leased employees.
• Employees who applied for a religious or medical exemption will be contacted in writing with additional clarification.
• Shipbuilders who opted to submit for retirement or to resign as a result of the federal mandate have the option to request reversal of their decision.
– For those who have started the retirement process, please contact the HII Benefits Center for more information.
– For employees who notified management or Human Resources of plans to resign, please talk with your immediate supervisor if your plans change. Supervisors should contact their Human Resources business partner for guidance.
• Offsite employees will be required to follow the guidance provided by the work location.