Dozens of Florida Power and Light (FPL) workers took to the streets to protest a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. They stood across from the company on State Road 80 in Lee County on Wednesday.
Protesters say they just want freedom of choice.
“We’re not anti-vax. We just want the freedom to make the choice. There’s a stipulation now that you be vaccinated by Jan. 10 or risk losing your job or being terminated,” said Greg King the Local Union 641 president.
The local union president said the people in the crowd were both vaccinated and unvaccinated, union and nonunion workers.
Most were fearful about speaking as it could lead to them losing their job.
One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “my wife works in health care and she just got her mandate letter. And we’re looking at both of us being out of a job. And we got kids and a house and we got everything else. So, it’s a rough decision and it shouldn’t be forced on us.”
King argues most of these employees have already had to work throughout the pandemic so it doesn’t make sense to him why they’re now being forced to get the vaccine.
“We all worked together with the remote locations, take-home vehicles, wearing masks, and you know, we got through it,” said King.
FPL, and its parent company Next-Era, released the following statement:
We take very seriously our duty to keep the lights on for more than 11 million Floridians, which is an essential service that is the lifeblood of our state’s $1.1 trillion economy. Providing electricity to Floridians demands that we are doing everything that is reasonably possible to protect the collective health and safety of our FPL family and our customers, which is why we are requiring our employees to be vaccinated. This is a science and data-driven decision that we believe is the right thing to do for everyone who depends on us to provide their power no matter the circumstances.