Detroit’s three big automakers – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis – announced that they are not yet mandating vaccines for thousands of their unionized workers.
The UAW has resisted suggestions it agree to vaccine mandates. Last September, UAW President Ray Curry told its members that until the various rules are finalized, the UAW’s bargaining position continues to be that vaccination is strongly encouraged, but a personal choice.”
Biden has worked hard to win the autoworkers’ support, in part because UAW members are crucial to winning elections in Michigan and other Midwestern states. But the UAW’s reluctance to support vaccination mandates reflects a broader resistance among many unions to the Biden administration’s policies.
According to a statement given by the UAW Task Force, they aligned on a policy of voluntary and confidential disclosure of vaccination status for UAW members. Each company will provide additional communication to employees on how, where and when to report their vaccination status.
In addition to encouraging members to disclose their vaccination status, the Task Force continues to urge all members, coworkers, and their families to get vaccinated and get booster vaccinations against COVID-19, while understanding that there are personal reasons that may prevent some members from being vaccinated, such as health issues or religious beliefs.
After reviewing the status of CDC and OSHA guidelines, the Task Force also decided it is in the best interest of worker safety to continue masks in all worksites at this time.
While it is understood that masks can be uncomfortable, the spread of the Delta variant and recent data outlining the continued high rate of transmission in some geographic areas continue to be a serious health threat.
One of the best ways to fight this virus is by getting as many people as possible vaccinated. The more UAW members, coworkers and their families are vaccinated and have boosters, the quicker this deadly pandemic can be vanquished.
The Task Force will continue to closely monitor the COVID health status, and all legal and procedural changes to CDC and OSHA guidelines in order to ensure that everything possible is being done to keep families, members and employees safe.
According to a report by Reuters, Stellantis said it would require all of its 14,000 U.S. salaried non-union employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 5, as it prepares for a phased reopening of its U.S. offices next year. Nearly 80% of its salaried non-union U.S. workforce self-reported that they are fully vaccinated, Stellantis said.
Earlier this month, Ford said it would require most of its 32,000-strong U.S. salaried workforce to be vaccinated. The second largest U.S. automaker earlier this month said more than 84% of U.S. salaried employees already are vaccinated.
Ford said earlier it was still evaluating its policy for “manufacturing locations, parts depots and Ford Credit, including analyzing federal and collective bargaining requirements.”
GM, Ford and Stellantis said last month they would mandate vaccines for all autoworkers in Canada.