Unvaccinated workers sue to keep Sandia jobs

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Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Unvaccinated employees of Sandia National Laboratories – who have been fired or are expected to be fired soon for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine – have filed a complaint in Texas about the vaccine’s mandate in an attempt to keep their jobs.

Members of the SNL Workforce Freedom Alliance and several current and former lab workers are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and injunction request, which was filed last week in federal court in Amarillo, Texas. Ana Garner, a lawyer representing workers at Sandia, said she expects to eventually represent around 200 employees who are part of the alliance, which was formed on social media.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction so that unvaccinated workers can keep their jobs, which is threatened due to a presidential decree issued in September by President Joe Biden demanding that federal workers and contractors be vaccinated against COVID- 19. Originally slated for application last month, Garner said employees now face an early January deadline to get vaccinated. The order was contested by several states and other opponents.

“The complainants contend, as categorically as words allow, that a person has every right to decide whether something is going to be injected into their body that will have an effect on their body and even more so where it will actually change the way his body functions, “says the lawsuit.” This is all the more true as this injection caused death and severe disability to a significant percentage of those who suffered it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says serious adverse events after the COVID vaccine can occur but are rare. The agency says vaccines are safe and effective and recommends that all people 5 years of age and older be vaccinated.

Garner said most of his clients work from home, making the rules requiring them to get vaccinated and wear “dumb” masks.

For example, one of the plaintiffs, David Peterson, who worked for Sandia in some capacity for 20 years, lives in Texas and never sets foot in the Albuquerque labs. The lawsuit says he has religious and medical safety concerns with the vaccine. Its official exemption is still unresolved in labs, Garner said.

“We are trying to prevent Sandia National from exerting negative pressure on anyone who refuses to be vaccinated,” she told the Journal in an interview.

Jon Brooks, an electrical engineer in Bernalillo County who worked in the labs until he was fired in October after failing to complete the form to request a warrant exemption, and Anna Burns, a lab worker the 67-year-old who does not want “experimental medical treatment”, are the other plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. It was filed against National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia and Honeywell International Inc.

The lawsuit says the North Texas federal court has jurisdiction over the case, in part because Pantex Nuclear Labs is located in Amarillo. This lab houses the Weapons Evaluation Testing Lab, which Sandia operates. There are also other Sandia employees who, like Peterson, work remotely from Texas.

Officials at Sandia Labs could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

When Biden adopted the policy in September, lab officials said more than 80% of its employees were fully vaccinated, which is higher than the percentage of total New Mexico residents overall.

The lawsuit argues that COVID is a much less dangerous disease than health officials have reported, and that the vaccine is more dangerous. The court record says 99.8% of COVID patients survive and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System shows people are reporting more adverse reactions to COVID vaccines compared to other vaccines.

New Mexico health officials have reported that there have been 5,796 COVID-related deaths in 346,461 cases, making the disease fatal in about 1.67% of confirmed cases.

Garner has admitted that some of the data in his trial does not match what the state’s public health department is reporting.

“It’s definitely an obstacle that we have to overcome,” Garner said. “So many people got facts from false sources.”


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