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Stennis employees protest vaccine mandate just days from deadline

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:02 PM CST
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PEARLINGTON, Miss. (WLOX) - Dozens of workers are rallying together to stand against President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

In Hancock County, employees at Stennis Space Center could be days away from being terminated if they refuse the shot. On Thursday, a group gathered once again to take a stand against the mandate.

Those opposed to the mandate say it’s about standing up for the flag and the freedom it represents.

“It is an oppression that is going to sneak up on us if we don’t stop it from sneaking up,” said rally attendee Carl Guichard.

As of Friday morning, the deadline to get the shot remained days away on Nov. 22.

“I can always go get another job - it is not easy but I can - and I know I can get another job,” said Stennis employee Bobby Goluba. “Hopefully, I won’t have to because I worked many, many years to get this job at NASA that I have. I love my job, but I also love my freedom even more and I love my country even more, and I will gladly stand up for those freedoms any day.”

Some have worked at Stennis for decades and say they will face many challenges if forced to find another job.

“I have got almost 30 years in, working out here. So, essentially, most of my life,” said Stennis employee Chip Ellis. “It is a major consequence for me. I have a got a severely special needs child, and I will be losing insurance and will have to find another way to take care of those needs.”

Ellis is one of many NASA workers across the country who are putting their faith in God and the Constitution.

“Over a month ago, we started organizing as NASA employees against the mandate and across the country,” said Stennis Employees for Medical Freedom organizer Nyla Trumbach. “Other centers - Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center, Ames and others - are rallying just like we are here at Stennis against the mandate.”

The organization held a number of rallies over the last few weeks with hundreds coming out to show their support. Several remain hopeful that the mandate will be suspended or removed, especially after seeing Ingalls Shipbuilding announce recently that the mandate was temporarily suspended.

“It was very exciting, just like the court case that paused the OSHA action,” said Trumbach. “It is very exciting. I think it’s good news. t shows progress and, hopefully it results in that for us, too.”

Stennis employees who have not heard back about their exemption or accommodation status by Nov. 22 say they expect to remain employed until decisions are made on their status.

The deadline for sub-contractors is expected to be in mid-January.

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