BATH- Josh Chevalier, a third-generation shipbuilder, has not missed a day of work in the pandemic. He works as a welder constructing Navy warships off the Maine coast.
He's not ready to quit his job, however, because President Joe Biden has ordered that all U.S. companies with more than 100 workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"People are fighting to protect their constitutional rights -- the life they want," Chevalier said, one of hundreds who threatened to leave Bath Iron Works.
Chevalier is one of a few American workers who are deciding whether or not to quit their jobs.
Biden's administration, public health officials, and many business leaders all agree that vaccines are legal and prudent steps necessary to end the pandemic which has claimed more than 700,000. Americans and almost 5,000,000 worldwide.
The percentage of defiant workers is small, but many cities, states, and businesses report that over 9 out of 10 workers comply with mandates.
They have the potential for disruption in a tight labor marketplace and are the latest obstacle in overcoming vaccine hesitancy, which allowed the COVID-19 crises to spiral out of control this summer. Many objections stem from misinformation.
All types of occupations are affected by the refusers, including firefighters, police officers and firefighters, teachers, health care workers and educators. On Tuesday, Seattle firefighters protested a mandatory vaccination.
Many thousands of people have applied for religious or medical exemptions, but they were denied. Others won't listen to the instructions and quit or were fired.
Nick Rolovich was the Washington State University football coach. and four of his assistants were let go on Monday from their $3.2 million-a year job. Rolovich was the first major college coach who lost his job due to vaccination status. However, he declined to explain. He is now suing.
In the coming weeks, the conflict over mandates will likely grow. Biden's administration is expected to make any day the mandate that all employers employing 100 or more employees require all employees to be vaccinated and undergo weekly testing. However, enforcement won't likely start for many weeks. Federal contractors will be subject to the rule in December. There is no option for testing, but many schools, businesses and governments have already implemented mandates.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other organizations representing large employers, has warned that workers may simply move to smaller jobs where they are not required to get vaccinated. The chamber warned that this could cause problems for large retailers as they prepare to enter the holiday season.
People who have quit their jobs to find work that doesn’t require vaccinations share information via social media. Employers looking for workers in small companies are turning to online job boards like RedBalloon. Here, employers pledge not to make vaccinations a condition of hiring.
Andrew Crapuchettes is RedBalloon founder and chief executive. He stated that the website was created for people who "just want to work" and not to get involved in politics. The site has been visited by more than 250,000 people.
Some states, such as Texas, Montana, and Florida are preparing to challenge or undercut the Biden mandates. Texas Governor. Greg Abbott issued Monday's executive order barring any entity to require vaccines.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he would call a special session in order to pass legislation to fight vaccine mandates. He said that "in Florida, you can earn a living regardless of what choices you make regarding these injections."
Melissa Alfieri Collins, 44, is a mother of two and said that she decided to quit her job as a nurse at Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey rather than continue COVID-19 testing.
Although she was told that the hospital had granted her a medical exemption, she was not satisfied with the requirement that unvaccinated individuals be tested. She argued that even vaccined people can spread diseases.
Alfieri-Collins said, "My family and me, we had an extensive talk, and basically I don't want any compromise my values anymore," and she hopes to become a nurse practitioner to pursue her holistic practice.
She said, "I am very sorry because I am the kind of nurse that loves my patient and my patients love my,"
Anthony Polenski is the director of strategic partnerships at tech recruitment company Jobfuture.ai. He said that he sees candidates who are asking, "Will this organization force me to take an injection?" Polenski stated that they often leave previous employers due to a mandate to get vaccinated.
He said, "They don’t want their vaccination status attached at their employment."
Union members are growing frustrated at the Maine shipyard.
A group of 100 shipbuilders protested being forced to get vaccines on Friday. They marched down the street holding signs condemning the mandate and using four-letter words to express their opinions about the president and his vaccine mandates.
Over the federal contractor mandate, the union fears losing more than 1,000 workers or 30% of its members.
Dean Grazioso is a 33-year-old Bath Iron Works employee who said he wasn't anti-vaccine, but that he knows of vaccinated friends, family members, and coworkers who have contracted COVID-19. These infections are rare. Vaccinated people who contract COVID-19 are less likely to die or be hospitalized.
The 53-year old is still deliberating whether or not to have the shot.
He said, "I'm still up-in the air." "But I have a big decision to make."