In a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, no matter that we all wish it was, U.S. automakers and the United Auto Workers union have agreed to extend mask requirements for workers but will not require vaccination for union workers.
Instead, Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, and the UAW will allow workers to voluntarily report their vaccination status.
Stellantis will require all 14,000 non-union, salaried employees to be vaccinated by January 5, 2022.
“In addition to encouraging members to disclose their vaccination status, the (Detroit 3 and UAW) 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,” a joint statement said. “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.”
Someday, we’ll be able to go maskless — and getting more people vaccinated will hasten the arrival of that day — but that day isn’t today. And given the ongoing high rates of COVID and the fact that masking offers protection from getting sick, even if you’re fully vaccinated (and perhaps boosted), along with the costs of missed productivity when workers are out sick, it makes sense that masking will last a little longer.
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