IBEW Local 97 members gather to protest federal vaccine mandates

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Union members of the IBEW Local 97 gathered outside the Capitol building Saturday in Albany to protest the federal vaccine mandate. Many work for national grid.

For Zachry Goodness, a National Grid worker and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 97, it is all about choice. Goodness joined up with fellow Local 97 members to protest the federal vaccine mandate, which impacts many companies like National Grid.

“For us, we were told the mandate is going to take effect January 24,” said Goodness. “Personally, I am vaccinated, I do not want to see any of my brothers or sisters lose their jobs or careers.”

Many Local 97 members say they worked around the clock on the front lines during the pandemic and they say the looming deadline is taking its toll.

“When the time comes to go into someone’s house for a gas leak we had to go in and do what we had to do to make sure we were safe, the people were safe,” said Ken Cushman, a member of the IBEW Local 97. “There were times when we felt uncomfortable but we still did our jobs. Now we are the ones faced with losing our jobs.”

In the end, Local 97 members like Zach say they are looking for one thing.

“A choice of either weekly testing or another alternative for people who do not want the vaccine,” said Goodness.