NewsLocal News


Not their jam — Dozens of people protest Smuckers vaccine mandate

Poster image (83).jpg
Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 21, 2021

ORRVILLE, Ohio — Dozens of people stood outside Smuckers in Orville with signs and t-shirts to protest the company's vaccine mandate.

“By having people force something that doesn't belong, that they feel doesn't belong in their body. It’s just kind of sad,” said protest organizer Lilleigh, who did not want to provide her last name.

Smuckers put a mandate in place, writing in a statement to News 5 that 2,600 salaried employees are required to be vaccinated by December 15.

Also in that statement, it is not clear whether non-compliant salaried employees will be laid off, but for these protesters, the writing is on the wall.

"They are forcing them to get an injection or they lose their jobs," said Lilleigh.

They're frustrated, saying this decision affects their day-to-day lives.

"So it does make for a hurt environment, everywhere I mean, there's a lot of different places that are choosing to follow his actions. So, it is rough and then you have to decide whether you want to do this,” said Lilleigh.

News 5 spoke to Sharona Hoffman, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, spoke to News 5 about the company's ability to put the mandate in place.

“Employers are within their rights to have a vaccine mandate, and in fact, we have a federal order that large employers with 100 or more employees have to have these vaccine mandates," said Hoffman.

Employees can be exempt from getting shot for religious or medical reasons, but other than that, Hoffman says they don't have grounds to dispute.

“They do not have a legally valid objection, and it's advisable to comply," Hoffman said. "They do have the choice to try to find a different employer that doesn't have a vaccine mandate."

For this group of protesters, that just might be what they do.

“We'll keep showing support for as long as we can, and if they will come down with the hammer I guess people are going to have to face harder difficult choices,” Lilleigh said.

The company's statement does go on to say that all salaried employees who are compliant by December 1 could receive a monetary incentive. Also, hourly employees are recommended but not required to comply.

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.