A storm of worker strikes, administrative leaves, and outright terminations is sweeping the country in response to mandated COVID vaccinations. Earlier this week, Texas-based Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel thousands of flights after hundreds of pilots refused to report to work in protest of the company mandating the COVID vaccine.
Now, the corporate tyranny has spread to West Texas. On Tuesday, a Lubbock news station terminated three employees after informing them they were in violation of the company’s recently enacted vaccine mandate.
KCBD-TV Channel 11 is one of many local television stations owned by Georgia-based media company GrayTV. As of October 1, GrayTV required all employees, including their subsidiaries, to receive the COVID vaccine or be fired.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported on Wednesday that former account executive for KCBD, Eleah Lehnen, watched three of her colleagues get terminated last week for violating the vaccine policy. Three more employees, including herself and KCBD Vice President Dan Jackson, were let go on Tuesday following a notice from their human resources department.
The conversation in which GrayTV Senior Vice President Tim Ingram formally terminated Eleah Lehnen was recorded.
The following conversation was pulled directly from the recording:
Ingram: We are not going to allow you to interact with other employees any longer. That’s a fact.
Lehnen: If they’re all vaccinated and I’m not, what’s the concern? If the vaccine works and is doing the job that it’s said to be doing—
Ingram: We’re not here to debate or discuss the efficacy of the vaccine—
Lehnen: You’re just here to push policy.
“We cannot allow you to interact with your other coworkers because one thing that is clear is that people who are vaccinated can still be infected with COVID,” said Ingram. Lehnen has already consulted an attorney. Texas Scorecard reached out to KCBD and former Vice President Dan Jackson, but neither were available for comment.
In response to KCBD’s vaccine policy, Health Freedom of Lubbock is organizing a rally to support the six individuals who have been fired from the station. The group is joined by several grassroots organizations, including True Texas Project – Lubbock, South Plains Patriots, and others.
Health Freedom of Lubbock issued a press release announcing the aforementioned rally. In the release, Chalon Goodley, president of the Lubbock Area Republican Women, said:
I am very sad to hear of the firing of employees over “Vaccine Mandates” especially right here in Lubbock, Texas. I believe vaccines are a “personal choice.” We still live in the USA where we are supposed to be a free country. Unfortunately under this administration we are losing our freedoms every day. I do not believe in mandates and believe we “each of us” get to make choices that best fit our needs personally. I am looking forward to Texas Bill HB 155 passing to support personal choice.
Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting employers from requiring employees to receive a COVID vaccine. He also placed the issue on the special session agenda; though, with only a few days left, the effort appears to be uphill.
The rally will take place on October 16 at 11 a.m. outside of the station’s offices. The full press release can be viewed here.