A group opposed to the president’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors — that includes Bath Iron Works shipbuilders — is planning to protest the mandate outside the Bath shipyard 1 p.m. Sunday.

A group of nearly 30, most of which were not BIW employees, demonstrated outside the shipyard last Saturday. Many in the group said they’re not opposed to the vaccine itself, but are against the government making them choose between their jobs and getting the vaccine.

According to a Facebook event page created for the rally, the group is asking anyone impacted by the mandate “from nurses to retail workers and everyone in-between, come stand with Bath Iron Works employees and friends who choose freedom,” the page reads.

According to a statement the Biden Administration released Nov. 4, federal contractor employees like BIW shipbuilders “will need to have their final vaccination dose – either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022.”

BIW does not have the option to allow unvaccinated employees to be tested for COVID-19 each week instead of getting the inoculation because the shipyard builds ships for the Navy, making it a federal contractor. Workers can, however, request a medical or religious exemption to the mandate.

The company has declined to answer questions from The Times Record on how many workers might walk away from their jobs rather than get vaccinated, how many employees have already left their jobs over the mandate, how many have applied for religious or medical exemptions, as well as the company’s contingency plan.

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