General Motors is asking its salaried workforce if they are vaccinated in an attempt to update the company’s COVID-related safety protocols.
Thus far, the company is the only U.S.-based automaker engaging in this type of information collection. GM officials told TheDetroitBureau.com there isn’t an end date for getting the information and declined to elaborate on what happens if an employee declines to meet the requirement, saying it is “an HR matter.”
GM isn’t requiring employees to be vaccinated but has encouraged its salaried and hourly workers to do so. Stellantis had not yet returned calls and emails from TheDetroitBureau about the topic at the time of publication.
“In response to increasing COVID-19 positive case rates across the U.S., and GM’s ongoing commitment to employees’ safety, the company earlier this month implemented an expanded vaccination status reporting process that was mandatory for all U.S. salaried employees,” GM said in a statement emailed to TheDetroitBureau.com.
“We gathered this information via a confidential online tool. The reporting of our employees’ vaccination status is helping GM Medical assess the overall immunity of our employee population and determine when GM should relax or strengthen certain COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the CDC and OSHA, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and facility occupancy rates. It will also help influence future public health decisions the company may need to make to continue to protect our employees.”
GM follows the guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
It’s unclear what happens if employees decline to answer the question. GM has not yet responded to TheDetroitBureau.com. It appears the automaker isn’t asking contract employees to report the information, according to one source who declined to be named.
Additionally, the company hasn’t yet reached out to the UAW in an attempt to collect similar information. UAW President Ray Curry told Reuters no automaker has discussed the possibility of mandating hourly workers to report their vaccination status.
The UAW, like GM as well as Ford and Stellantis, has encouraged workers to get the vaccination, but it is not required. Curry supports collecting information about the vaccination status of UAW workers on a voluntary basis only, which GM does, the company told TheDetroitBureau.com.
However, if GM or any automaker wanted to make it mandatory, it would need to be part of a bargaining process, he told Reuters.
Some may know already
One Ford employee told TheDetroitBureau.com the company hasn’t asked specifically about it. However, when workers go into a Ford facility, they are required to fill out a screening form.
It includes standard questions asking about exposure to people who have been diagnosed with COVID, experiencing COVID-like symptoms recently, etc. The employee noted beginning in May, the company added a question asking if the employee filling out the form had received the vaccination. They added there was an option to decline to answer.
The formed is tied to a QR code and the employee receives an email confirmation. So collecting the information wouldn’t be difficult, but Ford officials say they aren’t keeping the information.
“We do not receive or retain the responses in connection with any contact information or personal information. It has only been used to aggregate vaccination information with the purpose of helping to inform our protocols,” the company said in a statement emailed to TheDetroitBureau.com.
“Our current statement on vaccines hasn’t changed — Ford strongly encourages all employees who are eligible to get vaccinated. We believe the vaccine plays a critical role in combating the virus and have designated some roles where we require the vaccine. We are currently assessing whether we need to expand the requirement.”