US automakers, union agree to not require coronavirus vaccines for workers

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Detroit’s three big automakers — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis — announced on Tuesday that they are not yet mandating vaccines for thousands of workers. 

The United Auto Workers (UAW) issued a joint statement with the companies saying they would require masking at work sites despite not mandating vaccines. The unionized workers will, however, be asked to report their vaccination status on a voluntary basis. 

The statement said the groups would continue “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 more UAW members, coworkers and their families are vaccinated and have boosters, the quicker this deadly pandemic can be vanquished,” the statement added. 

The Biden administration, however, wants employers to mandate vaccinations. 

Rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which have been the subject of some legal backlash, would require businesses with at least 100 employees to mandate that workers either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly. Unvaccinated employees would be required to mask indoors starting Dec. 5 and then undergo weekly testing if they remain unvaccinated by Jan. 4.

Last week, dozens of health groups encouraged businesses to voluntarily implement the Biden administration’s coronavirus policies requiring vaccination or testing in an effort to ensure the safety of workers and customers during the holiday season. 

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