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Boeing drops COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers

The move came after a federal judge blocked President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate from being enforced.

SEATTLE — Editor's note: The above video on Boeing workers protesting the company's vaccine requirement originally aired Oct. 15, 2021.

Boeing has dropped its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees after a federal judge blocked a nationwide mandate.

The aerospace giant said in a statement Friday that it will continue to encourage their employees to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot. However, suspending the company's vaccine requirement was in line with the federal court’s decision.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor and follow federal, state and local requirements,” Boeing spokesperson Jim Proulx said in a statement.

U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker in Augusta, George issued a stay last week to bar President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate from being enforced. The order was in response to a lawsuit filed by several contractors and seven states that claimed Biden exceeded authorization from Congress when he issued the mandate in September.

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Boeing announced in October it would require its workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 to ensure the company would be in compliance with the federal vaccine mandate.

The policy applied to roughly 140,000 employees companywide, with about 57,000 of those in Washington state.

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Boeing’s vaccine requirement sparked concern from several unions representing Boeing workers who said the requirement couldn’t be legally implemented without labor negotiations.