Employees of Chugach Government Solutions were recently notified that they are no longer required to take a COVID shot in order keep their jobs.
The company, which employs more than 5,000 people around the world, is an Anchorage-based entity formed by Chugach Alaska Corporation to contract with the federal government in providing facility management, construction, technical IT and educational services. The company has regional offices in eight states and works on multiple projects in Alaska, across the country and internationally.
On Dec. 16, employees received an email from Senior Vice President of Operations Support Kathleen Grimes stating that the company was rescinding its COVID shot mandate for employees.
“You may have recently read in the news that the Pentagon has determined not to enforce vaccine mandates for federal contractors at this time pending the result of judicial actions and review of their impact on a vaccine mandate program,” Grimes wrote. “Now that the guidance from DoD has changed, we will shift back to our original intent of encouraging, but not mandating, our employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination.”
She added that Chugach will continue to enforce internal COVID policies and procedures.
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On Dec. 7, the U.S. District Court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction on President Biden’s attempt to mandate COVID injections on companies that contract with the federal government. Originally, workers had until Jan. 18, 2022, to comply.
Grimes’ email to Chugach employees noted that the company has been “closely monitoring developments regarding vaccination requirements for federal contractors to ensure we are meeting the service standards of our contracts.” She added that while Chugach believes “getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the most effective thing we can do to help keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company will no longer force the shot on those who decline it.
Operating the Dept. of Labor’s Job Corps program in Palmer is one of many services Chugach provides for the federal government. An employee at the facility contacted the Alaska Watchman regarding Chugach’s decision to rescind its vax mandate. The employee said the mandate nearly cost his job.
The Watchman left a message with Chugach Alaska Corporation’s Communication Director Randi Jo Gause for further comment, but our call was not returned.