Automotive employers including Ford Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz have said they are mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for salaried personnel as the industry adapts to upcoming federal rules.
But still uncertain is what added pressure big manufacturers might put on their factory work forces as the industry tries to break free of nearly two years of pandemic disruption.
Ford said this week that it will require "most" of its U.S. salaried employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. That is in line with an executive order President Joe Biden signed this year that requires federal contractors to have their employees be immunized by that date in order to continue receiving contracts from the government.
A Ford spokeswoman said in a statement that "the health and safety of our work force remains our top priority, and we have been very encouraged by the support of our employees to comply with our protocols, including the more than 84 percent of U.S. salaried employees who are already vaccinated."
Likewise, Mercedes-Benz USA said it will require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4. That's the same day the federal government will begin requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations for their work forces.
The Biden administration said this week that workers at those companies who do not get vaccinated will be required to be tested at least weekly. Businesses that do not comply with the requirements, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week, may be subject to fines.
In a statement to Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz said about two-thirds of its work force nationwide is vaccinated. But Reuters reported that less than half of the workers at Mercedes' U.S. import processing centers are immunized, citing a source familiar with the matter.
"We expect that the vast majority of our employees will provide proof of vaccination before the deadline," the company said.