Stellantis mandates non-union, salaried employees get COVID-19 vaccine

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks is requiring its U.S. non-union, salaried employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in preparation of a phased reopening of the company's offices next year, the automaker said Friday.

Stellantis NV employees must submit proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by Dec. 4 and receive their final dose by Jan. 5. Nearly 80% of its U.S. salaried workforce already has self-reported that they are vaccinated fully, according to the company.

Mark Kreusel, plant manager at Stellantis NV's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the company's health and wellness center there.

Accommodations that include testing because of medical or religious exemptions will be available, Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said. Those who don't receive an exemption and aren't fully vaccinated by the deadline will be put on a 30-day unpaid leave of absence. After that, they could face termination.

The requirement comes despite the Occupational Safety and Health Administration saying this week it has delayed enforcing an emergency temporary standard that would require employees at businesses with 100 or more workers be vaccinated or get tested weekly starting Jan. 4. The delay is in effect until litigation challenges are resolved after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay on the emergency rules.

"Stellantis has been focused on protecting the health and safety of its employees since the start of the pandemic," Tinson said in a statement. "This action also will ensure alignment with the federal ETS if it is implemented."

Stellantis' mandate at this point doesn't apply to hourly workers and other unionized employees. Those conditions must be negotiated with the United Auto Workers.

Ford Motor Co. earlier this month announced it was requiring most of its salaried workforce to get the jab by Dec. 8. If employee don't comply, they could be put on unpaid leave. At that point, 84% of its U.S. salaried workforce had been vaccinated, the company said.

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz USA, based in Atlanta, also has said it's requiring employees be vaccinated by Jan. 4.

General Motors Co. is "strongly encouraging" vaccination but has not required its U.S. salaried or UAW-represented hourly employees to be vaccinated. 

The automaker said in a statement it "is reviewing the rules with multiple internal and external stakeholders and determining the actions we must take to ensure company-wide understanding and compliance. We will keep our employees posted as the details of GM’s vaccination compliance plans come together."

In Canada, Detroit's three automakers already have announced vaccine mandates. GM's requirement includes visitors to its facilities in Canada starting Dec. 12. Stellantis NV's requirement affects employees, contractors, service provider workers and visitors to its Canadian sites. That goes into effect Dec. 17. Ford also is requiring salaried and hourly workers in Canada to get the vaccine.

Staff writer Kalea Hall contributed.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble