This is in compliance with President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate to federal contractors. GE sells jet engines and other equipment to the government. Headquartered in Boston and running its global operations from Cincinnati, GE is one of the largest companies in the U.S. to comply with Biden's executive order.
GE employees can avoid the vaccine through approved medical or religious exemptions.
Other big companies requiring some or all of their staff to be vaccinated include IBM, Alphabet Inc. and Facebook. IBM said that all of its employees, regardless of where they work, must comply with the vaccine deadline or face unpaid suspensions. IBM employs more than 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, United Airlines and American Airlines threatened to fire unvaccinated employees. According to United Airlines, 99 percent of its employees were already vaccinated against COVID-19.
The U.S. is currently recovering from a spike in COVID-19 cases that started in late August due to the delta variant. The country reported nearly 600,000 new cases and more than 11,000 deaths last week, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took to Twitter to slam Biden's vaccine mandate. He wrote: "Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work. Suddenly we're short on pilots and air traffic controllers."
The social media tirade appeared not long after Southwest Airlines employees walked off the job, forcing the company to cancel thousands of flights. According to Southwest, which is based in Texas, the flights were not cancelled because of protests, but rather because of "disruptive weather."
In a travel advisory, Southwest claimed that it is working to "recover our operation."
Back in August, Cruz appeared with Sean Hannity of Fox News to declare that the COVID-19 vaccine mandates are an invasion of personal privacy. Having to show proof of vaccination, he said, is a violation of individual liberty.
"The left doesn't believe in your privacy, it doesn’t believe in your freedom," Cruz told Hannity.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new executive order prohibiting any entity to impose a vaccine mandate in the state. Abbott issued EU No. GA-40 on October 11.
The executive order states that no entity in the Lone Star State can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."
Calling it unlawful, over 200 employees of Southwest Airlines protested outside its Dallas headquarters to publicly oppose the vaccine mandate.
Southwest Airlines is considered a federal contractor but is pushing back against the government's unlawful vaccine mandate. Dozens of pilots joined flight attendants and employees to express their opposition to the mandate.
The Biden administration apparently thinks that all federal contractors are now properties of the federal government. It requires all federal contractors to give up their medical privacy and body autonomy and submit to selective vaccine mandates.
Steve Goldberg, Southwest's senior vice president of operations and hospitality, issued a memo saying that the company will not terminate employees on December 8 as it reviews employees exemption forms. Greenberg's memo states that employees may continue to work as long as they follow health protocols like social distancing and wearing of masks. (Related: Southwest Airlines backs down from vaccine mandate after massive protests.)
"This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case," the memo states.
However, newly-hired employees are being discriminated by Southwest Airlines which is demanding proof of COVID 19 vaccination as a pre-condition to employment. Current Southwest employees are also profiled and segregated based on their private medical decisions, which is a violation of medical privacy.
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