Employees at Moog in Elma hold second rally outside plant over vaccine mandate


ELMA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Employees at Moog in Elma are taking their fight against the federal vaccine mandates to the streets. For a second day in a row, workers gathered outside the facility to protest.

“We need to send the message we can’t just sit back anymore. This like that step too far and yes we’re standing up for everybody,” said Kelly Bebak who’s husband works as an engineer at Moog.

Workers say they’re not anti-vaccine, but they believe they should have a choice.

They tell News 4 they were given a memo from Moog saying they have until December 8 to get vaccinated or they’ll be fired with no unemployment and no severance pay.

“If that happens in the community, we’re going to be putting some incredibly smart and talented people out of work,” says Matt Schieber, who works as a value stream loop leader. “We’ve got a lot of people at Moog who are the only ones in the industry that know what they do and if we lose those key people it could have a rippling domino effect throughout the community.”

MORE | Moog employees walk out over vaccine mandate

Many of these workers are engineers and machinists who tell us that if they’re gone, the company will suffer.

“If we were to lose 5,10 percent in key areas, it would bring this company to its knees,” Matt Schreiber, Moog value stream loop leader, says. “And we want to avoid that at all costs. The vaccine could be safe and effective. You can have your opinion one way or another. We just want to work. We don’t want to be forced to take a medical procedure if we don’t want it.”

Employees say they are planning to take legal action if the mandate stays in place.

News 4 caught up with UB law professor Matthew Dimick, he says employers are able to put certain requirements in place to work there and that this mandate might not be easy to fight.

“I think people a lot of times think that because they have a right to free speech and privacy that that implies in the workplace but those rights only apply to the government,” he said. “If the government tries to invade your privacy or deprive you of free speech that you have those constitutional rights. In the workplace? It’s a completely different ball game.”

“If it wants to keep the spread of COVID, keep employees from getting COVID, and one way to do that is to mandate all employees are vaccinated,” Dimick said.

We reached out to Moog for comment, but have not heard back.

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Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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