U.P. Railroad employees plan to participate in rally against vaccine mandate

Medical Freedom Rally
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 12:26 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A Medical Freedom Rally is being held at the Lincoln County Courthouse on Saturday, October 16, from noon to 4 p.m. While the rally was planned prior to the announcement to Union Pacific Railroad employees that they would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine by December 8 or be disqualified for employment due to medical reasoning, the rally is adjusting to include the “plight of the railroaders,” according to organizer Brenda Fourtner of North Platte.

Fourtner is a candidate running for District 42 Legislature for the Unicameral of the State of Nebraska. She said she is running for reasons like this. Reasons, she says, including standing up for the people whom she loves. She says, standing up for the town she grew up in, and her family and her friends - many of the employees for the Union Pacific.

Many railroaders have voiced concerns anonymously to News 2, saying they do not blame the railroad inasmuch as their reasoning for requiring the mandates. They say, rather, they are disappointed the railroad did not “have their backs” after giving so much as employees. One employee telling News 2, “We were considered essential workers just a few short months ago. We worked all the way through this pandemic, every day, showing up and working. Now, we are told if we do not get the vaccine we will no longer have employment. It’s scary. It’s hurtful.”

Just as in any employment, those affected by this mandate are not willing to jeopardize their jobs in the meantime by coming forward to the media and sharing their names and faces. It’s the reason many say they’ll be wearing masks at the rally. “

Many UPRR Employees say they'll rally against vaccine mandates on Saturday.
Many UPRR Employees say they'll rally against vaccine mandates on Saturday.

On September 9 President Biden issued an executive order to require companies that contract with the federal government to mandate their employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Union Pacific Railroad contracts with the federal government, and according to U.P. Spokesperson Robynn Tysver, the railroad must comply. An official U.P.R.R. statement follows:

The specifics of the incentives are not disclosed to News 2.

The consensus of railroaders reaching out to News 2 is that they just want to be heard by their government. They say they are hoping together a solution can be reached rather than to be forced to choose between a job and a vaccine mandate they do not believe in.

Senator Mike Groene plans to attend the rally Saturday. He plans to address the crowd and show his support.

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