This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 2, 2021:
Members of JPLNoVaxMandate, made up of workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, made known their opposition to the company’s mandate that they get vaccinated by December 8 or face possible termination. About 20 gathered near the JPL facility on Monday morning to protest.
JPL policy states that “Effective December 8, 2021, vaccination will be a condition of employment for JPL employees … regardless of whether you work on Lab, at another JPL facility, or elsewhere off-site.” That means that even employees working in other states must bend to the company’s policy or potentially lose their jobs.
Caleb Macy, an engineering development technician for JPL, told Pasadena Now why he was protesting:
There’s a number of us who are very concerned about the implications to our freedoms. And if the government, or anyone, is given the right to tell you what you have to have in your body, that leads down a very dark path.
We have both people who are vaccinated and not vaccinated in our group, but everybody is just wanting to stand for body sovereignty, the right to choose, and medical freedom.
JPL has an exemptions policy but the details remain unclear even as the deadline approaches. Said Macy:
It seems like they’re [JPL] trying to run the clock and not really allow reasonable accommodation or dissent from just falling in line and taking the vaccine or losing your job.
Because being told: “Do this, or you lose your job, you lose what you’ve worked for, everything you’ve worked for in your career, you can’t support your family” — that’s not giving you a choice. That’s forcing you, and that’s wrong.
It’s not just for JPL, said Macy:
The protest is not just for JPL. It’s for everyone’s freedom and their right to choose what goes in their body and to be able to have strongly held beliefs.
All of us in this group and a lot of other people here at JPL are looking at possibly losing our jobs, and we’re OK with that consequence, because these are our beliefs and our principles, and we’re going to stand on them.
Another JPL employee, Taylor Ingram, told The Epoch Times: “We’re not against the vaccines. We’re not against people’s right to choose to take the vaccine, but we are against the coercion of having to get the vaccine in order to work.”
Todd Jones, a 31-year veteran at JPL, held a 10-foot metal syringe filled with various things inside representing unknown COVID vaccine ingredients. He told The Epoch Times that he doesn’t trust any of the vaccines because they haven’t been tested for long-term effects.
The protest is another example of the increasing pushback against vaccine mandates. Last Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department filed suit against the city over its vaccine mandates. Alex Villaneuva, a Los Angeles County Sheriff, estimated that he would lose 44 percent of his workforce if the mandate were allowed to go into effect.
State governors have joined the pushback, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Almost immediately after Biden announced his order that businesses with more than 100 employees must demand that they get the vaccine, she said, “See you in court!” Governors in Montana, Florida, Texas, and Arizona pushed back against the Biden mandate. Airline pilots and firefighters are joining the resistance as well.
In New York City, 9,000 municipal workers called in sick on Monday, including so many firefighters that 18 of the department’s 350 units went out of service.
The New American covered the story of Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a physician and professor at the University of California-Irvine, who is suing his employer over its vaccine mandate. His lawsuit raises many important constitutional issues but, in the end, he thinks the most effective way to resist is simply to say “no.” He said:
Ultimately, I think the thing that’s going to stop these vaccine mandates are just people on the ground refusing to comply.
We’re starting to see that.
That’s going to have more immediate and perhaps more profound effect than what happens in the courts.