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Verizon says majority of U.S. employees must be vaccinated

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FILE PHOTO: A man stands next to the logo of Verizon at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said on Thursday the majority of its U.S. workforce must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 under President Joe Biden's federal contractor executive order.

Verizon said thousands of non-union U.S. employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 under the executive order.

Verizon, a federal contractor, said it was in discussions with its unions about vaccination requirements for 30,000 U.S. unionized employees.

The company said retail employees and some other workers must be vaccinated by Feb. 1. Contractors, vendors, visitors and new hires who enter Verizon U.S. facilities must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1.

The vast majority of Verizon's 130,000 employees worldwide are in the United States. The vaccine mandates will apply to nearly all its non-union employees.

Some "home-based" Verizon Consumer Group and others are excluded, the telecommunications company said.

"While we respect that within our workforce there are people with different beliefs and perspectives related to COVID-19 and the vaccine, we must comply with the government’s requirements, including those for federal contractors," Verizon said.

A growing number of federal contractors are complying with the Dec. 8 deadline.

Union Pacific Corp, the top U.S. railroad operator, said on Wednesday it will require its 31,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated.

Last month, U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak said it will require nearly all of its 18,000 employees be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.

Boeing Co, another federal contractor, said on Tuesday it will require COVID-19 vaccination for its 125,000 U.S. employees.

Major U.S. airlines also have said they will also meet the deadline imposed on federal contractors, including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines Co, JetBlue Airways Corp and Alaska Airlines, as has aircraft parts manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems.

The White House announced the Dec. 8 deadline for employees of federal contractors last month after Reuters reported it. The requirement is expected to cover millions of workers.

International Business Machines Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp have also said they will require all U.S. employees to be vaccinated.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot)

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