In Wichita, Kansas, nearly half of the roughly 10,000 employees at aircraft companies Textron Inc and Spirit AeroSystems remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, risking their jobs in defiance of a federal mandate, according to a union official.

“We’re going to lose a lot of employees over this,” said Cornell Adams, head of the local Machinists union district. Many workers did not object to the vaccines as such, he said, but were staunchly opposed to what they see as government meddling in personal health decisions.

The union district has hired a Texas-based lawyer to assist employees and prepare potential lawsuits against the companies should requests for medical or religious exemptions to vaccination be denied.