GM confidentially surveyed white-collar workers on Covid vaccine status

The GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, March 16, 2021.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – General Motors has required all U.S. salaried employees to report their Covid-19 vaccination status as it and other companies across the country weigh whether or not to mandate the immunizations.

GM on Thursday confirmed it confidentiality asked its roughly 48,000 U.S. white-collar workers to disclose the information as a way to assess overall immunity levels and guide its safety protocols.

“The level of immunity is an important factor in determining when GM may need to increase or be able to relax or rescind certain COVID-19 safety protocols,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The survey, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, went out earlier this month. Employees were required to respond by this past Monday. Those who said they were fully vaccinated needed to submit proof of their status.

GM and other automakers have not required workers to get vaccinated, but they have implemented safety protocols and procedures at facilities across the globe.

The survey comes after GM CEO Mary Barra said Aug. 4 that the company was assessing whether to mandate employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid.

“Right now, we’re evaluating it and we’re in deep conversations with our stakeholders to look at what’s the right thing to do from a General Motors perspective,” she said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “So, I would say more to follow.”

In April, GM announced a flexible remote work policy called “work appropriately,” allowing some employees to work fully or partly remote, depending on their job responsibilities.

UAW President Ray Curry, whose union represents more than 400,000 workers, said the organization does not plan to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for its members.

“Our position has been from the onset of the pandemic that we see voluntary efforts when the vaccine was available, and we would encourage our members to get vaccinated,” he said during a media roundtable Thursday. “But our ultimate goal because of so many different reasons, whether that be religious, or whether it be personal preference or medical, that we would respect the wishes of our membership.”

Curry said the union would “be open” to bargaining discussions about surveying UAW members of vaccination status. He said the union is not tracking the vaccination rates of its members.

The union currently has 1,150 contracts with about 1,600 employers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico in automotive, aerospace, agriculture and other sectors.

GM’s crosstown rival, Ford Motor, has not conducted a survey of all of its salaried employees, but ask for anyone entering a Ford facility or event to report their vaccination status.