Back in September, Ford asked its U.S.-based workers to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status, a process that was required for salaried employees, contractors, and agency workers, but optional for hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Ford then announced that it would require all of its Canadian workforce to get vaccinated by the end of the year. As Ford Authority was the first to report, all of Ford’s U.S.-based salaried workers must get the COVID-19 vaccine by December 8th or possibly receive 30 days of unpaid leave with job protection followed by termination. However, FoMoCo will not impose a similar vaccine mandate for its UAW workers, according to Reuters.
UAW President Ray Curry previously said that the union wasn’t planning on mandating vaccines for its 400,000 members, but also mentioned the union was awaiting updated OSHA guidelines before taking action. OSHA has been tabbed to enforce a proposed mandate from the U.S. Department of Labor, requested by the Biden administration, that requires private employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or have unvaccinated workers submit to regular testing and wear a mask while on the job. However, that mandate is currently tied up in federal appeals court.
While unionized U.S.-based workers will not be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Ford and the UAW will extend the existing mask mandate for those workers, though it’s currently unclear how long that mandate has been extended.
Ford has supported COVID-19 vaccines since the very beginning, running ad campaigns and ordering special freezers to ensure that employees who wanted a shot could get one, even when they were somewhat scarce. Then, the automaker began offering vaccines to its employees on-site at a number of its plants across the United States. Recently, FoMoCo expanded those efforts to include the Ford Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico, too.