General Motors has dropped the mask mandate at its assembly plants in the United States.
In a statement released Friday, the United Auto Workers confirmed its COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which is comprised of UAW members, along with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis representatives, had decided to adopt the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance with regard to masking. Under the new CDC guidelines, wearing a mask will be optional for employees at all UAW facilities in the U.S. regardless of their vaccination status.
“In making this decision, the Task Force reviewed reports of medical experts and CDC guidelines,” the UAW statement said. “The companies will continue to adhere to state and local masking requirements where applicable.”
Facilities located in so-called “high-risk counties,” as identified by the CDC will still be subject to the same mandates regarding both masking and physical distancing. A facility’s COVID-19 county risk level can be checked through the CDC’s online tracking tool.
The UAW says the Detroit Big Three will still provide complimentary masks “for those who choose to wear one based on personal preference.” The CDC recommends that those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 are also encouraged to wear a mask and not report to work.
The UAW does not require union members to be vaccinated, although it is still actively encouraging assembly line workers to receive a shot.
“While the UAW and the companies will continue following other protocols that have kept workplaces safe, one of the best ways to fight this virus is by getting vaccinated,” the union said Friday. “The Task Force continues to encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated against COVID-19, or boosted when eligible, to protect family, friends and communities.”