A hundred or so people lined the street outside General Electric in Greenville on Thursday to protest the federal government’s mandate that says that companies with federal contracts must require their employees to become vaccinated against COVID-19.
It was difficult to tell how many of the protesters were employees because many were children and senior citizens. Handfuls of people walked from the GE plant wearing blue uniforms, and some were seen in cars leaving the property.
A spokesperson for GE, when asked about the walkout responded, “As a federal contractor, GE is complying with the executive order which requires employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All GE U.S. employees will be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious accommodation by December 8th as required in the order.”
She did not answer how many employees walked out or whether they would face disciplinary action.
At the protest, Rob Berry told Fox News Carolina television station that he worked for GE for 35 years and was there to support the engineers who have been working from home for 18 months and could lose their jobs because they don’t want to give the company their medical information.
Berry said he wanted people to know the protest was not against GE, but against the federal government’s mandate.
One man in a truck leaving the GE campus told a television reporter he had walked out.
“It ain’t right,” he said, declining to give his name.
Another man on the street was heard saying he might be vaccinated but he didn’t want to tell the company.
People carried signs saying, “Jab or Job. No mandate,” “My body, my choice,” and “We support GE employees.” One quoted the Bible verse 2 Timothy 1:17, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Most people who were approached by TV reporters declined being interviewed on camera.
The Greenville County GOP issued a statement supporting GE employees, saying, “It is not GE’s place to mandate that any person in their employment be forced to undergo a medical procedure that is risky and has caused so much harm.”
The Greenville County GOP has been staging weekly protests in downtown Greenville to protest the mandate.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has vowed to fight the mandate being imposed in South Carolina.
GE makes gas turbines and with about 3,200 employees is one of Greenville County’s largest employers.