Ford calls on unions and salaried workers to submit vaccination status

Ford CEO Jim Farley at the company’s new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center before President Joe Biden’s May 18, 2021 speech.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Detroit-Ford Motor is asking its hourly and salaried employees in the United States to submit their Covid-1 vaccine status by next Friday, as the automaker prepares to comply with President Joe Biden’s mandatory test or vaccination plan announced earlier this month.

The submission process is required for salaried employees, but voluntarily for automaker employees representing the United Auto Workers Union. It is also mandatory for agencies or other Ford contractors, the company confirmed to CNBC.

Ford spokesman Monique Brentley said in an email statement: “This will support our efforts to comply with the federal Covid-1 vaccine requirements and evaluate the overall vaccination level of our workforce to determine appropriate measures for employee safety.”

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg confirmed that the submission process is voluntary for its union members.

According to the online submission form for employees, the information will help Ford’s efforts to comply with legal requirements and help the company determine appropriate measures to protect employees.

Ford CEO Jim Farley said the company thinks the vaccine is “mission critical” for employee safety. Farley said the company’s entire leadership team and medical staff were vaccinated.

“We’re really excited about the mandate,” Farley told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “We will work with our union partners, which in some cases requires joint bargaining … we will work through it.”

Farley said he had talked to new UAW President Ray Curry about the company’s plans.

Before announcing the need for the Biden vaccine, Curry said the company did not plan to vaccinate its 400,000 members with the Covid-1 vaccine. He said any company should be forced to vaccinate, they should do so through bargaining. Biden’s contract introduced a plan in September to make vaccination of workers mandatory for government contractors and to require vaccinations or testing for 100 or more employee organizations.

In a letter to members received by CNBC on Monday, Curry said the union is awaiting guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the new rules. He said the directive would probably apply to many, if not most private employers with UAW-represented staff.

Ford’s request was followed by General Motors, which began last month to require all U.S. salaried employees to report the status of their Covid-1 vaccine.

Automakers like GM and Ford do not require workers to be vaccinated, but they have applied safety protocols and procedures to facilities around the world.

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