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Raytheon Technologies, the parent company of Cedar Rapids’ largest employer Collins Aerospace, will require all U.S. employees to be vaccinated, the company said in a statement.
With about 9,000 employees in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, Collins Aerospace is the largest employer in the Corridor.
Employees have until Jan. 1 to be fully vaccinated, a Raytheon spokeswoman told The Gazette.
The company has roughly 130,000 workers in the United States.
Raytheon’s decision comes about a week after President Joe Biden announced a series of federal mandates for U.S. businesses.
Some exemptions will be allowed for those with medical conditions or sincerely held religious believes, making the aerospace giant one of the first major defense contractors with such a rule, according to Bloomberg News.
Raytheon said in a statement the requirement comes as part of its “ongoing commitment to maintain employee health and safety.”
“Raytheon Technologies will require its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated to further protect employees and communities from the risks and uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants,” the company said.
A Raytheon spokesman said non-compliance with the rule would be handled like other breaches of policy, with termination a possible outcome. The company plans to consult with unions and other worker groups before implementing the plan, according to Bloomberg.
A similar move by drugstore chain Walgreens will cover about 250,000 workers, who must get vaccinated or enroll in a virus testing program, a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg on Wednesday.
The policy previously applied only to Walgreens’ office workers, exempting cashiers and others in the company’s 9,100 U.S. drugstores.
Expanding the policy marks a shift from other retailers, who by and large have mandated shots for office workers while simply encouraging them for store employees amid a tight job market. Walgreens Chief Executive Officer Roz Brewer briefed Biden on the plan in a meeting Wednesday.
Walmart, the largest private employer in the U.S., is requiring shots for employees at its headquarters and regional offices, but hasn’t imposed such a rule for retail workers. Many companies have stopped short of a mandate and have turned instead to incentives to spur vaccinations.
Southwest Airlines, for example, said it will offer 16 hours of additional pay to workers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or get shots by the middle of November, and is ending a wage protection plan for employees who decline vaccinations and become ill on the job.
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Bloomberg News contributed to this report.