UCOR is requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The requirement applies to all of its nearly 2,000 employees, and it is a condition of employment, the company said Tuesday.
The vaccination requirement was announced by UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter on August 26.
The company, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs, is the U.S. Department of Energy’s lead environmental cleanup contractor on the Oak Ridge Reservation, and it has an award-winning safety record, the company said. Rueter said that the decision to require the vaccine was in line with the company’s commitment to safety and its culture of caring.
“Thanks to the controls we put in place early in the pandemic, including masking, social distancing, and teleworking, we haven’t had any workplace transmissions of the virus,” Rueter said. “However, our leadership team decided that with the surge in cases in the community and among the workforce due to the virus variants, taking this proactive step is the best way to keep our workforce safe.”
UCOR is giving workers until November 1 to receive their final vaccination dose. The company will consider exemptions for disability/medical reasons or religious reasons on a case-by-case basis.
At least one other large employer in Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, also has vaccination requirements. Staff members there have until October 15 to be vaccinated. UT-Battelle LLC, which manages the laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, decided to require vaccinations after the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, August 23.
“UT-Battelle LLC determined that requiring vaccinations is the single best step for protecting the health and safety of staff members and ensuring fulfillment of ORNL missions,” the lab said in August.
Other large employers may follow. President Joe Biden announced mandates this month for all federal workers and contractors and for companies that have 100 or more employees. DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees work at Y-12 National Security Complex, and DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management both said they are waiting for guidance from DOE after the president announced the mandates. Oak Ridge Schools said it has not yet received guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education about what the president’s announcement means for public schools.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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