Mask Up: U.S. Automakers to Extend Plant Requirements

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
mask up u s automakers to extend plant requirements

In a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, no matter that we all wish it was, U.S. automakers and the United Auto Workers union have agreed to extend mask requirements for workers but will not require vaccination for union workers.

Instead, Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, and the UAW will allow workers to voluntarily report their vaccination status.

Stellantis will require all 14,000 non-union, salaried employees to be vaccinated by January 5, 2022.

“In addition to encouraging members to disclose their vaccination status, the (Detroit 3 and UAW) Task Force continues to urge all members, coworkers, and their families to get vaccinated and get booster vaccinations against COVID-19, while understanding that there are personal reasons that may prevent some members from being vaccinated, such as health issues or religious beliefs,” a joint statement said. “After reviewing the status of CDC and OSHA guidelines, the Task Force also decided it is in the best interest of worker safety to continue masks in all worksites at this time.”

Someday, we’ll be able to go maskless — and getting more people vaccinated will hasten the arrival of that day — but that day isn’t today. And given the ongoing high rates of COVID and the fact that masking offers protection from getting sick, even if you’re fully vaccinated (and perhaps boosted), along with the costs of missed productivity when workers are out sick, it makes sense that masking will last a little longer.

[Image: Andrey_Popov/]

Join the conversation
17 of 98 comments
  • CoastieLenn CoastieLenn on Nov 24, 2021

    I personally just want my freedom of choice to either mask up (or not), vaccinate (or not), or accept the COVID risks (or not) restored. Enough of the country is vaccinated now that the rest of the country either KNOWS they’re immunocompromised and have always had to protect themselves better than most, or they’re “I’m not getting the vaccine no matter what you say” crowd that’s willing to accept the risks. For the record, I’m vaccinated and my kids are about to get it. I support people's choice to get the vaccine or not and condemn those that choose to condemn the folks that don't want to get it OR wear a mask. Enough is enough.

    • See 6 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on Nov 24, 2021

      @coastie: What I'm saying is that by refusing to take precautions, people have prioritized their "freedom" over the well being of their communities. Forced compliance isn't going to work in the face of that level of pure stupidity and selfishness. Thus, the endless temper tantrums we see every day from people who just don't give a f**k about the people they co-exist with. In that context, no, you can't force them to take precautions, just like you can't tell a cocaine addict that he has to go to rehab - that's going to go nowhere fast. People who don't care about themselves or the people around them aren't going to do anything different, whether they're forced to or not. The real question is why they're not forcing themselves to do what's right. The endpoint? I'd say it comes when people grow up and stop being idiots about this. Then it'll end.

  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Nov 29, 2021

    Arthur Dailey, I see single layer mask, bandannas, neck gators, etc all the time. And all of them meet the requirements to be "masked" in all situations I've encountered except while flying. The airline industry for some reason wont allow neck gators even though they are made of the same materials as most mask I see. In any event I'm still seeking an answer to my original question. Which is, what is the relative size difference between the airborne covid particles and the holes in a cotton mask? Anyone? This is not an idle question. If the holes in the mask are significantly larger than the particles than the mask mandates make even less sense. If we are going to "follow the science" then either require real mask that are proven to stop transmission of covid particles, require they be fit and worn properly, or don't bother.

    • See 1 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 30, 2021

      @kcflyer, This might have some of what you are looking for: (You are asking about particle size - the story is more complicated than just particle size, as you will see at that link)

  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Nov 30, 2021

    The infectious disease docs I'm hearing on tv and radio are all saying the same thing. Virus' over time become more contagious and less deadly. But I don't expect that reality to factor into pollical leaders decisions.

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Nov 30, 2021

      The epidemiologist in our family, who has been talking about pandemics for at least a decade explained this to us, back in February 2020. So far her comments and predictions have been quite accurate, including how long it would take to get vaccines ready for use. But then that should probably be expected as she has spent most of her adult life studying infectious diseases at universities and with government agencies/departments that are dedicated to such tasks and employ hundreds if not thousands of other trained professionals in the areas of virology, epidemiology, medicine, etc. Unlike 'independent' social media 'researchers'.