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Raytheon requiring employees to get COVID-19 shots

Defense firm's move follows Biden's mandate to test or vaccinate against coronavirus

Raytheon employees will need to get their COVID-19 vaccinations soon if they haven't already — or face losing their jobs under a policy announced Wednesday by the defense contracting giant.

Raytheon, which builds missiles and other weapons systems at its facility in Tucson, has about 13,000 workers in its combined Missiles and Defense division, which is headquartered here.

All U.S. employees of the company must get their COVID shots by mid-December to meet a Jan. 1, 2022, deadline.

"In keeping with our ongoing commitment to maintain employee health and safety, Raytheon Technologies will require its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated to further protect employees and communities from the risks and uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants," a statement from the contractor said.

The company has about 180,000 employees around the world, with all workers in the United States being covered by the policy, which follows the mandate announced last week by President Joe Biden that all federal employees and those working for federal contractors must either test weekly for the virus or be vaccinated.

"The expectation is that employees meet the requirement and if they do not, like any company policy, there are levels of disciplinary action that could be considered - up to and including termination," a person familiar with Raytheon's requirement told Reuters.

Raytheon's Tucson facility develops and manufactures a variety of missiles, including a new nuclear cruise missile, the Standard Missile-2, SM-3 and SM-6 interceptors, and a deal with Norway's Kongsberg to assemble and test that company's Naval Strike Missile in Tucson.

The company is the 8th-largest employer in Arizona.

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With $16 million in incentives from Pima County for the contractor, Raytheon has been in the process of adding about 2,000 jobs here over the next half-decade. The county and Pima Association of Governments have invested about $33 million in the company's expansion here, purchasing land for a buffer zone and constructing a new roadway near the factory, south of Tucson International Airport.

Correction: An earlier version of this report included the wrong year for Raytheon’s vaccination deadline.

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A launch of an SM-3 missile manufactured by Raytheon.


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