EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to fix a reference to testing.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The White House could issue its employee coronavirus vaccination and test mandate any day, The Associated Press reported Wednesday, as employers wait to get details on a key part of President Joe Biden's plan to boost vaccination rates.
Biden introduced the plan to require federally contracted companies and companies with 100 or more workers to require employees to get fully vaccinated or agree to weekly testing six weeks ago. But businesses are still waiting for the final rule.
Columbia is home to several large employers who will be affected by the mandate when it is made official.
3M employs nearly 500 workers in Columbia and it's a federally contracted company.
It put out a company-wide email Tuesday letting employees know about the new guidance but took it a step further and eliminated the option for weekly testing.
Aaron Gonzalez, an engineer who has worked with 3M for over 20 years, says it's not right.
"It's wrong for so many reasons," Gonzalez said. "It's basically vaccination without representation."
According to the 2020 Regional Economic Development Inc. report, Columbia has nearly 30 companies with more than 100 employees. The list includes locally-based companies such as Veterans United Home Loans along with multinational companies such as Kraft Heinz.
"How does how does a contract with the federal government in a company, how does that override my rights to my own body and what I choose to do with it?" Gonzalez asked.
In a statement, 3M said "We believe it is important to be a responsible corporate citizen, and we want to get our workplaces back to normal as quickly as we can. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent death, serious illness and transmission."
Michael Frazier, a 3M production operator, also disagreed with the new guidance.
"I am vaccinated, and I respect the rights of other people to not be vaccinated but I don't think that their jobs should be on the line based on that choice," Frazier said.
Shelter Insurance employs almost 1,300 workers in Columbia but says it's still waiting for official guidance. However, officials say they're still following COVID-19 safety protocols in the meantime.
"Should a mandate come into play by OSHA and the Department of Labor then we will review that and put into effect any needed mandate that is directed from that," said Jay MacLellan, director of PR for 3M.