Auto industry COVID-19 vaccine mandates grow


The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last month was granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which experts say could give corporations a basis for requiring shots. But while such mandates are beginning to make their way into boardrooms and cubicles across the industry, they have yet to reach the factory floor.

UAW President Ray Curry said the union remains opposed to mandatory shots and that any health care surcharges would have to be added through collective bargaining. The UAW has not tracked how many of its members are vaccinated.

“Our ultimate goal, because of so many different reasons, be that religious or personal preference or medical, is that we would respect the wishes of our membership,” Curry told reporters last month.

Officials from GM and Ford have said they are encouraging workers to get the vaccine and are considering implementing wider mandates, while Stellantis similarly said it “will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate the appropriate actions to take in the best interest of employee health and safety.”

Kiersten Robinson, Ford’s chief people and employee experience officer, told Automotive News in a statement that the company was still “assessing whether we need to expand the requirement” beyond some employees who travel internationally.

She told Reuters last month that Ford wanted to understand employee sentiment and what was stopping them from getting the shots voluntarily.

“Employee views — and the access Ford workers have to vaccines — vary around the world,” she said. “It’s simplistic to have a one-size-fits-all mandate.”

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