General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that she does not expect workers to quit if the automaker implements mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
Per a recent report from Reuters, Barra addressed the issue recently during the New York Times DealBook online summit.
“We have a great workforce. I don’t see it as a walking off the job situation at all,” Barra said when asked about possible workforce issues surrounding mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. “I look at how dedicated our workforce is, we will work through it. I’m betting on them.”
The General Motors CEO’s comments follow an announcement from the Biden Administration that companies with 100 employees or more would be required to get workers vaccinated against COVID-19, or conduct regular testing. It’s estimated that the new mandate would include some 84 million employees. Companies that do not comply could face fines of roughly $14,000 for every “serious” infraction, while repeat offenders could face much larger fines. The mandate has faced opposition and numerous challenges in court.
This is not the first time that General Motors has contended with shifting mandates with regard to preventative measures against COVID-19, with mask wearing being one such example. Back in March, General Motors workers in Texas were required to continue to wear face masks on the job despite the state lifting its mask mandate. Then in June, the United Auto Workers labor union (UAW) revised its guidance on face masks, saying that fully vaccinated UAW employees working at General Motors assembly plants would no longer be required to wear a face mask as of July. That guidance was changed yet again in August following an update from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stated that even fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask indoors.
“We know that the best way to fight this virus is by getting vaccinated,” the UAW stated with the revised guidance in August. “The Task Force is strongly encouraging all members, coworkers and their families to roll up their sleeves so we can move more quickly on once again relaxing mask protocols. The more our members, coworkers and their families are vaccinated, the quicker we can vanquish this deadly pandemic.”