Nov 25, 2021 -- The Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers say unionized workers will not be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations.
The statement from the COVID-19 Joint Task Force of UAW, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler’s parent company, Stellantis, said workers are encouraged but not mandated to get vaccinated.
“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,” the statement said.
Masking will still be required on worksites.
“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,” the statement said.
The stance by the autoworkers and the auto companies conflicts with the Biden administration, which wants companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations.
That policy has been put on hold while it faces legal challenges that are likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
The UAW has more than 400,000 active members and 580,000 retired members in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Stellantis last week ordered non-union, salaried workers in the U.S. to disclose vaccination status by Dec. 4 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 5, The Detroit News reported. Ford issued a similar mandate for "most" salaried workers. General Motors has not instituted a mandate yet on its salaried U.S. workforce.
All three auto companies have mandated vaccines for autoworkers in Canada.