3M workers in Brownwood protest vaccine mandate

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BROWNWOOD, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Tuesday morning, 150 people gathered outside of the 3M factory in Brownwood to peacefully protest the company’s early implementation of a pending OSHA vaccine requirement.

But, it was unlike many other protests, as some employees gathered underneath the flagpole outside of the factory and prayed over the company and the nation’s leaders.

Jay Townsend worked at 3M for 16 years prior to handing in his resignation, and said the company was a totally different place when he started.

“They’ve given us until December 8th,” Townsend said. “If we aren’t vaccinated by then, they’ll review us for termination.”

However, Townsend has already put in his notice that he will not return after that date, and said he will be starting his own remodeling business.

Protest organizer Dustin Gamblin, also a 17-year 3M employee, said that he sees the mandate as a stepping stone to his Constitutional rights being taken away.

“It’s opening the door for something else. They can do whatever they want,” Gamblin said. “If you choose to get the vaccine, that’s your choice, and I’ll pray for you. Either way, it should be your choice.”

Rick Biessener had been with the company for 40 years, and said that the company announced their requirement within 24-hours of President Biden’s announcement revealing plans for a federal workplace mandate.

During those 40 years with 3M, Rick beat cancer and said that it was an immediate ‘no’ when they called for the vaccine mandate.

“After that [cancer] started, I don’t put anything in my body that I don’t want in there,” Biessener said.

While the protest only lasted one hour, Gamblin said now was the time to step up and speak out.

“I shook the foundation today, and it’s time to keep shaking,” Gamblin said.

3M released the following statement regarding the mandate and the protests:

“3M cares about its employees and their families and we want them to be healthy and safe-our objective since the pandemic began. We value our employees and hope they will choose to stay with 3M. 3M will comply with the federal vaccination mandate because we are a federal contractor with more than 100 employees.”

Statement from 3M on employee protest

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