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Employees at large Upstate company walk out in response to vaccine mandate

WYFF 4 Greenville-Spartanburg logo WYFF 4 Greenville-Spartanburg 10/21/2021
ge walkout © WYFF ge walkout

In response to a vaccine mandate, General Electric employees in Greenville walked out of work Thursday.

The walkout started about 10:45 a.m. Dozens of employees lined the street outside the plant. Some were holding signs and others waving the American flag.

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Some drivers honked their horns as they drove by the protest.

The companywide mandate at GE falls in line with the Biden administration's executive order that requires all federal contractors to be vaccinated.

"There's going to be people out here who are vaccinated. It's just, we feel like the government has no business coming into our place of work, threatening our employment, threatening our employer," said Neil Slater, an employee who was protesting.

"It should be my choice and my choice only. Between me and my doctor," said Lane Stott, another employee, of the vaccine. "I will lose my job if it comes to this, me taking this shot. Because I will not take it."

Others, like Truman Horner, said they'd be willing to work remotely to avoid getting vaccinated.

"It's not like I haven't already considered getting vaccinated," said Horner. "We've made the best decision for our family, a well-informed decision already and for the President or my employer to come and try to overrule that is just very deeply, personally offensive."

RELATED: SC governor vows to fight Biden administration threats over COVID-19 rules

When asked for a response to the walkout, a spokesperson for GE said: "All GE U.S. employees will be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious accommodation by December 8th as required in the order."

An employee, who didn't want his name used and who has worked at the plant for 16 years, told WYFF News 4 that they were told about the mandate last week.

"So we have to be fully vaccinated by December 8 and that means for us to start getting these shots, we need to do it within the next two weeks to be able to comply with that deadline," he said.

Gov. Henry McMaster has said that South Carolina will not stop businesses from mandating COVID-19 vaccines because the state doesn't have the authority to do so.

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