Stellantis delays vaccine mandate, but sees uptick in vaccination rate

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The proportion of vaccinated non-union salaried employees at the maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks in the United States has risen to 93% from about 80% after the automaker instituted a mandate.

The deadline, which originally had been set for Wednesday, has been extended along with the company's delayed return-to-work plans. Stellantis NV announced Nov. 19 that it was requiring the COVID-19 shot for about 14,000 U.S. employees. The mandate doesn't require a booster.

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.

Health and safety requirements for employees represented by the United Auto Workers are subject to negotiations. Vaccines have been encouraged, but not mandated, for those workers.

Stellantis' new deadline for non-bargaining unit salaried employees depends on where and how they are working, according to the automaker. It only has said that sometime in early 2022 it will begin returning more employees to its Auburn Hills campus under its new flexible workplace model that will allow most salaried workers to be remote about 70% of the time.

The company previously stated the "New Era of Agility" pilot would run for four to six weeks with 650 employees in two suites at the campus' technical center. After that, Stellantis said it would use what it learned for that time to recall more employees on a rolling basis. The pilot originally was scheduled to launch in October.

Ford Motor Co. also instituted a vaccine mandate for most of its salaried workforce. The deadline for that was Jan. 4. A company representative didn't immediately have information on its compliance rate. In early December, it was 84% for some 30,000 people. The automaker has said it expects to begin recalling employees to the office under a new hybrid policy in March, with a pilot set for February.

General Motors Co. has said it is in support of the COVID-19 vaccine, but has not mandated that its employee get the jab. It has implemented its new "Work Appropriately" policy that gives teams the flexibility to work where they are more efficient in completing their tasks.

"The company’s overriding priority is keeping our employees and their families safe," spokeswoman Maria Raynal said in a statement. "GM continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated given the broad availability of safe and highly effective vaccines, which data consistently show is the best way to protect yourself and those around you."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble