General Motors warned that salaried workers who have not reported their coronavirus vaccination status by this Friday, October 1, will receive a letter of safety violation. Employees who choose not to reveal whether they're vaccinated will also risk a financial penalty.
"Continued non-compliance will result in a second safety letter violation and a reduction of the performance bonus," General Motors spokeswoman Maria Raynal told The Detroit Free Press. She added that "a vast majority" of the carmaker's workers are in compliance, and that the threat of receiving a safety violation is aimed at "a very small number" of employees, though she did not provide specific figures.
GM said in August that it was asking its salaried workforce of 48,000 people to report their status and provide proof of vaccination. (The company is working with the UAW to get factory workers vaccinated.) Raynal said that "we are pleased that virtually every GM salaried employee has reported their vaccine status via our confidential reporting tool."
The report notes that General Motors sent a memo to its managers on Sept. 22 giving them two business days to talk to non-compliant employees and inform them of what they risk by not providing their vaccination status. How much of the bonus they could ultimately lose hasn't been made public.
General Motors stressed that it's not requiring workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus — not yet, at least. In September 2021, the White House announced a nationwide mandate that states companies with over 100 workers must ensure that by Nov. 1 every member of their workforce is either fully vaccinated or, if they choose not to be vaccinated, is tested weekly. This decision affects over 80 million workers in the private sector, including the men and women who work at General Motors.
Company President Mark Reuss admitted executives are having "difficult conversations" about the mandate. "We just want to encourage all of our employees to get vaccinated," Reuss said last week at the Mackinac Policy Conference. "We're a large company, we've got a lot of different kinds of employees that have lots of different problems and challenges in life. We're trying to be very respectful of that."
But, "We don't want fear in the workplace. So that's where we are right now. That can change depending on what the law is or what the federal government actually says you have to do and we'll obviously do that, but that's where we are today."