The CEO of Defense Department contractor Raytheon said that the White House COVID-19 mandate will cause the firm to lose “several thousand” employees who will not take the vaccine.
“We will lose several thousand people,” Raytheon Chief Executive Greg Hayes said during an interview Tuesday. He said that the company, which has about 125,000 workers in the United States, is carrying out staff hiring to deal with the potential problem.
About 3 percent of the workers at the company, which manufactures Tomahawk missiles used by the United States and other militaries, won’t get the vaccine, he told CNBC.
“It’s not just the prime contractors, but it’s also all of our subcontractors that need to follow that mandate as well,” Hayes also said during a conference call on the company’s third-quarter earnings. “This is not huge in the grand scheme of $64.5 billion in revenue, but there will be some expected impact.”
Several weeks ago, Raytheon said it will require all employees to get the vaccine by mid-December to comply with President Joe Biden’s mandate for nearly all federal workers and contractors.
Similar to executives in other large American corporations, Raytheon believes that the vaccine will improve its business.
“Higher vaccination rates will continue to build confidence in the safety of air travel going forward,” Neil Mitchell, Raytheon’s chief financial officer, also said during the conference call on Tuesday.
Other than Raytheon, Boeing, which also holds a U.S. government contract, announced a vaccine mandate for all its workers earlier this month. The move prompted hundreds of Boeing employees to protest at the company’s offices near Seattle in mid-October.
Several defense contractors in late September issued a statement via the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics Corp., and others supporting Biden’s vaccine mandate.
“America’s aerospace and defense industry stands together as we prepare to implement the new federal vaccine requirement, while working with our government partners as they develop detailed guidance,” Eric Fanning, the association’s president, said in a statement at the time.
However, a group representing air cargo carriers such as UPS and FedEx issued a warning to the White House and Office of Management and Budget that the mandate for contractors may cause significant supply chain disruptions. UPS and FedEx are both federal contractors.
“[T]he looming December 8 mandate for having fully vaccinat[ed] workforces creates a significant supply chain problem,” the Cargo Airline Association said. “This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that we are already experiencing a worker shortage, both in the air and on the ground, and any loss of employees who refuse to be vaccinated will adversely impact needed operations.”