Textron CEO: Employees will quit over vaccine mandate

By Ethan Sterenfeld / October 28, 2021 at 11:08 AM

Textron expects some employees will quit their jobs rather than comply with the coronavirus vaccine mandate for government contractors, and the company has accelerated its hiring of new workers, Textron's chief executive officer said today.

"There's no question that we're going to lose some employees because of this," Scott Donnelly said in response to an analyst question on the company's third-quarter earnings call. "It's a curveball we wish we didn't have, but we're managing our way through it."

The Defense Department has come under pressure from contractors over the vaccine mandate, which might lead to workforce and supply chain disruptions. All employees of federal contractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8.

"It has created a lot of noise," Donnelly said. "It has not been well received by a pretty sizable portion of our employees."

Textron's revenue for the third quarter grew by 9% compared to the same period a year earlier, on a rebound in commercial aircraft sales, to $3 billion. Net income grew by 61%, to $185 million.

Revenue at Bell, which builds helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, fell by 3% on lower military revenues to $769 million. Profit for the division fell 12%, to $105 million. Bell delivered nine aircraft to the government in the quarter, the lowest number since the first quarter of 2020.

Bell is 60% done with building its prototype for the Army's Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft competition, Donnelly said.

Textron Systems, which makes a number of ground vehicles and drones, had $299 million in revenue, down 1%. Segment profit increased 13%, to $45 million. The withdrawal from Afghanistan hurt revenue growth in the division, according to the company.