Fearing a loss of highly skilled workers, groups representing large and small defense firms are pushing the Biden administration to allow employees to take periodic COVID tests instead of getting vaccinated. Currently, employees of companies that do work for the federal government must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18.
At least one company, Navy shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, said it would not enforce the mandate at shipyards in Mississippi and Virginia unless the requirement was included in a government contract.
“Our focus is on being able to keep the workforce you need as a company to deliver on the contracts you have, and the future contracts that you’re going to get,” said David Berteau, CEO of the Professional Services Council. “One way to retain that workforce is to have the testing option.”
The request comes as executives say they are trying to balance worker safety and delivering on contracts. The virus is still spreading through defense factories, sickening workers and delaying weapons projects. But the groups representing defense companies say their employees should be treated differently because they build the military’s weapons.
Read more at Defense One