Workers Hold Rally Against Potential Vaccine Mandates
HIBBING, Minn.– Hundreds of people gathered in Bennett Park in Hibbing on Wednesday to hold a rally asking for a choice when it comes to vaccinations in the workplace.
Cleveland Cliffs Inc. is the second largest steelmaker in America with 25,000 employees.
According to Bloomberg, Cleveland Cliffs promised a $1500 bonus to employees who get vaccinated, and they could get paid even more if the individual site where they work hits a 75% vaccination rate, which would double their bonus to $3,000. Company-wide, Cleveland Cliffs has a 60% vaccination rate among all employees.
The incentive goes through August 21st, but employees are not happy with what might come next.
“They’re dropping a plan, if it’s 30 to 45 days after the 21st, stuff’s going to change, they’re going to try to mandate it,” Jed Holewa, a Diesel Mechanic and Event Organizer said.
This potential mandate is what leads to the rally in Hibbing as hundreds gathered with signs to protest.
“I’m not anti-vaccine at all, I’m for freedom to make a choice on it, take all the information, speak with your doctor and find out what’s best for you, that’s what I’m for,” Eric Helander, a worker at the Arcelor Mittal Minorca Mines said.
For those in attendance they hope the rally raises awareness to their requests so that workers don’t have to choose between the vaccine and jobs.
“Well I hope it notifies people to rise up and not conform to let people just take away their liberties,” Bob Carlson, an attendee, said.
“I believe it should be a choice, that’s where we’re at, that’s why we have freedom in America because we have choices, and we have choices over our own bodies,” Helander said.
We reached out to Cleveland Cliffs on Wednesday about the protest and the incentives to get vaccinations, but we did not hear back.