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Detroit automakers ask union workers to submit Covid vaccine status

United Auto Workers members leave the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Warren truck plant after the first shift, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Warren, Michigan.

Paul Sancya | PA

DETROIT – Auto makers in Detroit are asking their approximately 153,000 factory workers represented by the United Auto Workers to voluntarily submit their Covid-19 vaccination status.

The companies and the union agreed to the “voluntary and confidential disclosure” of vaccine status during a Monday night meeting of a joint coronavirus task force made up of union leaders and representatives from General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis ( formerly Fiat Chrysler), according to a joint statement sent by the UAW on Tuesday.

The voluntary submission process is a step below Ford and GM requiring non-union salaried employees to submit their vaccination status. Stellantis, on the other hand, has asked salaried employees to voluntarily submit their immunization status. Ford and Stellantis have both demanded that salaried employees get vaccinated. GM has not announced a vaccine mandate.

The UAW encouraged its members to get vaccinated, but it did not support the idea of ​​making vaccines mandatory for workers. Instead, the union relies on its more than 400,000 members to personally choose to be vaccinated.

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said on Tuesday that the union’s position on a mandate had not changed.

UAW President Ray Curry had previously said the union would be “open” to discussions on the investigation of UAW members into their immunization status. The union said it is not keeping track of the vaccination rates of its members, most of whom worked in person in factories during much of the pandemic.

Curry told reports in August that the union encouraged its members to get vaccinated, but wanted to respect the wishes of workers who might have medical, religious or personal objections.

UAW members investigate the suspension of enforcement of its vaccination and testing requirements for private businesses by the Biden administration after a federal appeals court suspended rules pending review .

Rothenberg said the union continues to monitor the Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health and Legal Affairs standard. The union will have to see what impact the requirements will have on the union’s more than 700 contracts, he told CNBC in an email.

The Biden administration on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to immediately lift the order ending its vaccine and Covid testing requirements, warning that delaying the implementation of the policy would cost lives and result in a increase in hospitalizations.

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