Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) employees must be deemed fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, unless granted a religion or medical exemption. Those who decline the COVID shot “will no longer meet the requirements to continue employment with ARRC.”

The mandate announcement was issued by the company’s President and CEO Bill O’Leary in an Oct. 22 letter to employees (see here and here). He begins by noting that Alaska Railroad has remained operational throughout the pandemic without ever requiring employees to vaccinate.

“Our employees have diverse and often deeply held views on this topic, and we respect those differences,” O’Leary writes. “Now the situation has changed.”

Due to President Biden’s Sept. 9 executive order, which mandates that businesses with federal contracts to have a fully vaccinated workforce, now all Alaska Railroad workers must take the shot. The mandate applies to all employees, including those who work remotely.

Alaska Railroad President and CEO Bill O’Leary

“As a federal contractor, ARRC must meet this standard,” O’Leary stated. “We understand that for some employees this news will require a difficult decision. We don’t want anyone to leave the company because of this new mandate, yet, we do not have a choice. To disregard the EO could cause substantial legal, regulatory and financial harm to our organization, and ultimately, to our workforce.”

Those requesting a medical or religion exemptions must do so before Nov. 24, but these may be denied if the company believes the accommodations would “cause undue hardship,” or pose a “direct health-and-safety threat to others.”

Those who do received exemptions would be required to undergo weekly COVID tests and continue masking and social distancing even after such mandates are lifted for the vaxxed. Additionally, unvaxxed workers could not attend in-person events and may be put on unpaid leaves of absence, O’Leary warned.

The Alaska Railroad is a state-owned corporation that is operated like a private business. It must generate enough revenues from train and real estate services to cover workforce, operations and infrastructure expenses. Alaska Railroad employees are not part of the state personnel system.

The railroad began in 1903 as a private company. Ownership was transferred to the State of Alaska in 1983.


To contact the Alaska Railroad, call (907) 265.2357 or email

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Alaska Railroad mandates COVID jabs for all employees

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • G Aleutian says:

    Well. That’s cruel.

  • G Aleutian says:

    Well. That’s cruel. Weekly injurious intrusions into the nasal orifice with nano infested sticks are physically injurious as well. Why would anyone do this to people one lives and respects. One would not.

    • AB says:

      What is a “nano infested stick?” What I’ve seen is essentially a small cotton swab in sterile wrapping.

  • Steve says:

    CEO Bill O’Leary is a coward for not refusing this unlawful EO. This Executive Order is pulling back the curtain exposing all the companies in this country that are sucking away at the tit of the public treasury.

  • Ed+Martin+Jr says:

    The core of Alaska is rotting away ! The Last Train of freedom to expand Alaska as the LAST FRONTIER will leave the Station with a whistle of pain .

  • Bill+Smallwood says:

    Lesco O’ Leary

  • Steve+Peterson says:

    No one has to meet that “mandate” because it is illegal.

  • Pete says:

    In a news article on 10/23 the headline was:

    “Sen. Dan Sullivan tells employers to not fire workers who won’t take C-shot until legal challenges are decided”

  • A_Working_Class_Hero says:

    Where is Dunleavy in all of this? He needs to take action on this now. Think Abbott or DeSantis type action.

    • RM says:

      When a group of employees from the telecom my husband works for contacted the governor’s office, the spokesperson said he was not going to interfere with private businesses, even if he doesn’t agree with the mandates. So once again, cowering and doing nothing.

    • EscapedAnchorage says:

      Not likely, Dunleavy is good at sitting short

  • DoneWithIt says:

    If the railroad is owned by the state of Alaska – Where’s Dummy Dunleavy?
    Oh yeah, standing tall somewhere, doing nothing – again…

  • A_Working_Class_Hero says:

    Here’s a novel concept, when you are the only game in town, your services become mandatory and required.
    The Alaska railroad should cancel the federal contract due to them changing contract terms!! Let them try to figure out logistics in Alaska. Oh, and good luck with that.
    When you are the only game in town, they don’t have any other choices… Why doesn’t this O’Leary clown fight for the Alaskans? Why simply roll over to unconstitutional tyranny?

  • Buzz Kelley says:

    C’mon man, try to understand. The jab is “for the good of the people.”
    We have to reduce your travel to save the planet. “for the good of the people.”
    You only get one small car because you do not need any AWD SUVs. “for the good of the people.”
    You have to live in a smaller house because you do not need a 2,000sf house.
    We have to remove your private parts to reduce population.
    There is so many poor people in the world when you die we will decide where your estate goes.
    “for the good of the people.”
    Those who believe government mandates are good will wake up in the 1950’s joseph stalin land where he murdered 20 million of his own countrymen and women.
    Wake up oh slumbering American!

    • Buzz Kelley says:

      Why is my comment “awaiting moderation” ???

      • Davidson Joel says:

        Every comment now goes through moderation because we have had people use our comments section to threaten those they disagree with. We approve just about every comment, and whole heartedly encourage robust and impassioned debate, but threats of violence have to be weeded out. The only way we can do that at this point is to review every comment. Sorry for the inconvenience.
        – Joel Davidson, editor

      • Buzz Kelley says:

        Thank you Mr. Davidson for the clarity. I very much appreciate the Alaska Watchman website.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Where’s are standing tall governor. He should be telling the state of Alaska we do not require anyone living in Alaska to get the shot. No mater what place of work your in.
    AARC employees worked through the pandemic, everyone came out ok right.
    Now you have to get the shot. No shortage of employees during the last year.
    But now the trains, will start shutting down do to the firing of these great employees. Who have worked for AARC this whole time. Making money for your railroad.
    Here’s another business I will be boycotting just like AIH and many others.

    • RM says:

      Boycott the internet. All telecom companies have government contracts. My husband’s a systems engineer. After Dec 8 if servers (including 911 and every military base) go down there will be no one to fix it. His entire group will be fired.

    • Sally+Pollen says:

      I’m sick to read that another great Alaskan institution has bowed to the threat of losing income over common sense and our individual rights. It must be a difficult decision some of these CEOs are faced with, either to cave in to the threat coming down from the top or lose their own jobs which are loaded with state perks. Maybe that is our governor’s dilemma. These comments are great, thousands of us see the truth of what is happening on a global scale as more and more of our friends and families who took the death jab are getting sick and dying. Thousands of us are shouting, “Not now, Not never!” It feels good to take a stand for liberty but I fear the frog is almost too hot now to make the jump for his life.

  • Buzz Kelley says:

    two times now my comments have been flagged as “… awaiting moderation.”
    Just saying.

    • Davidson Joel says:

      Every comment now goes through moderation because we have had people use our comments section to threaten those they disagree with. We approve just about every comment, and whole heartedly encourage robust and impassioned debate, but threats of violence have to be weeded out. The only way we can do that at this point is to review every comment. Sorry for the inconvenience.
      – Joel Davidson, editor

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    The employees who take the jab will gladly load you and your family unto a box car.

  • Buzz Kelley says:

    But Alaska Watchman did go ahead and publish my first comment. Thank you AW.

    • Lee Melvin says:

      GOVERNOR DUNLEAVY, I ask that you do not let the alaska railroad force the employees get the vaccine it is there choice not Joe Biden’s we are a free country!
      Please stand tall like the GOVERNOR’S of other states!

  • Wisdom Cries in the Streets says:

    It sounded so good, didn’t it? When the federal government gave you your first hit of “free” money. It was such a rush! “A contract from the government to do just what we were already doing!” Well, here’s the fine print: if you cash their check they OWN you.

    Welcome to reality, Alaska. We may have once been the Last Frontier – but we’ve never been free.

  • Gavin says:

    Time for the American Citizens to Unite and tell Biden to Stick his Mandate where the Sun Don’t Shine!!!

  • EscapedAnchorage says:

    I think the employees need to stand up and say no, vaccinated or not. Otherwise they’ll all be out of a job because the people won’t(and will tell their visitors not to) ride the woke railroad.

  • Art Thorness says:

    So where do the Feds get the money that they’re going to withhold from the State of Alaska ? We the people of America need this cur to heel .

  • Pam says:

    Supposedly there was only a press release issued and there is no executive order to be found anywhere. Not to mention it’s just plain illegal!

  • AK76 says:

    The premise for the argument by the ARR CEO is that the ARR is a Federal contractor. So my question is, why don’t we all quit paying Federal taxes? That should include Federal oil taxes. Our state, like many others, has become so dependent on the Federal government for revenue that we have lost our testicular fortitude. At this rate Dunleavy will not only lose the voter base that elected him but will also lose to Walker. Our future as a state will be decided by the actions or inactions of We The People.

  • NAV says:

    Employee Health Policies
    Employer Liability Acceptance Form

    official representative of Alaska Railroad]:
    in the official
    company capacity of [JOB TITLE]:
    with the duty of executing said company’s employee health policies as a stated “condition of
    employment,” which may include company policies potentially harmful to employee including the use
    of, coercion, bribery, or any threat of loss of employment and income, or any other means of
    coercion, hereby state that I fully understand the actions I am taking, and that I ACCEPT FULL
    LEGAL, FINANCIAL, AND HEALTH CONDITION LIABILITY, both professionally and personally, for any and
    all damages affecting employee, which may arise as a result of my actions to enforce and execute
    said “Company” employee health policy, and hereby acknowledge that I am executing and enforcing
    said policies without providing employee proper information in order for the employee to offer any
    “informed consent.” “EMPLOYEE” shall include all under direct employment and all private
    “contractors” that fall under said company health policies being enforced.

    Liability for “forced or coerced” health policies will include, but are not limited to; forced
    masking, forced quarantine, forced house arrest, forced medical treatments of any kind, any forced
    vaccinations, inoculations, injections, whether approved by government agencies or not, related
    employee abuse or “shaming,” discrimination, or otherwise infringement upon employee
    Constitutionally protected Natural Rights, individual liberties, or Civil Liberties.









    I, the undersigned, responsible for executing and enforcing company health policies upon employee,
    without their
    “informed consent” and “against their will” fully understand the actions I am taking and that I am
    completely liable, on behalf of company and myself, for any adverse effects, losses to the health,
    financial or other well-being of employee, due to my actions today.


    Both Professionally and Personally

  • PLorenz says:

    There IS NO EO yet!!!!

  • JR says:

    So many people that I know who have had the shots are now coming down with covid. What a scam and the movers and shakers in the medical establishment are nothing more than witch doctors being led by their witch-dr-in-chief Fauci and the CDC.

  • DB2 says:

    Heeeeeeey great job O’Leary way to destroy our state! You and your ilk are a special kind of ignorant, a special kind of cowardice, or a special kind of evil!
    Thanks for nothing!
    AK RR employees please do the right thing and walk. If you are informed and brave enough to do the right thing and stand up to this tyranny it will end. But the more of you that cave the more weight you leave for the real freedom-lovers to carry!
    Be brave!

  • Kristina says:

    Except there is no Executive Order at all. Even if there was, it’s in violation against the Constitution. There’s places all over America that hence been banning together and walking off the worksite. Until people really grasp that they need YOU and you do not need THEM, this will continue on this very very bad highway to hell.

    I was just in a store and a wife was speaking to her husband who now where’s a helmet because of injection injury and has developed uncontrollable seizure fits.

    They’re killing people purposely. This has never been about health for a 99.9+% recoverable illness. All the systems under the federal hand are collapsing on purpose. Even the medical infrastructure but not before massive amounts of money are squeezed from every pocket before this timely death.

    History is written so we learn not to repeat it. Now they’re coming after the children harder than ever before. If a govt is willing to protect a mother to be able to kill her child in (and now out) of the womb, what makes you think the govt will not protect themselves from killing us?