DETROIT – Ford Motor will require US employees to be vaccinated by December 8 or face unpaid leave, CNBC has learned.
On Tuesday, the automaker sent out a message to about 32,000 Ford staffers about its mandate. Ford will consider exempting employees from vaccinations for religious and medical reasons, according to company spokesman Monique Brentley.
During this time, employees who refuse vaccinations and do not have approved medical or religious housing will be sent on unpaid leave with up to 30 days of work, the company said in an email. It was not immediately clear what would happen in these 30 days.
“The health and safety of our employees remains our top priority and we are very encouraged to support our employees in adhering to our protocols, including over 84 percent of US employees who have already been vaccinated,” Brentley said in an interview. separate application by e-mail. “As we continue to take action to protect our team, Ford will now require most US employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8, which is also in line with federal contractor guidelines.”
Parts of Ford’s business are federal contractors, Brentley said. These contractors will have wide leeway to enforce President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccination mandate. according to new guidelines published by the White House on Monday…
UAW is not included
Ford’s mandate does not currently include factory workers, parts depots, and Ford Credit’s finance arm. The company is reviewing federal and collective requirements for these workers, Brentley said.
The largest non-mandated group is the roughly 57,000 Ford workers represented by United Auto Workers.
The UAW encouraged its members to get vaccinated, but did not support mandatory vaccination of workers. Instead, relying on over 400,000 of its members to personally choose vaccinations.
The union took part in a teleconference on October 18 with representatives of the White House and other major unions such as AFL-CIO to discuss the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The AFL-CIO advocates for the administration to expand powers to include additional protections for workers.
The UAW told CNBC that it will review the impact of the vaccine mandate on its more than 700 contracts once it is published.
A vaccine demand comes in as the OSHA is also is putting the finishing touches on a separate rule requiring businesses with 100 or more employees, estimated to cover about two-thirds of the private sector workforce, to mandate Covid vaccinations unless they develop a plan that allows workers to be tested regularly.
Automakers are reluctant to introduce mandatory Covid vaccinations ahead of a new rule that will also affect their large, unified workforce.
Ford is the first major US automaker to introduce vaccines. General Motors and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) also previously required salaried employees to provide vaccination information, but they did not fulfill their mandate.
GM did not immediately respond to comments regarding any changes to its employee vaccination policy.
Stellantis has failed to meet its mandate for the Covid vaccine, according to a spokesman for the American company.
“Since vaccines became available, Stellantis has continued to urge our employees to get vaccinated,” she said in an e-mail statement. “We continue to monitor the situation and are partnering with the UAW to evaluate additional actions that need to be taken in the interests of employee health and safety.”