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US Automakers, Microsoft Respond to New CDC Guidance with New Mandates

Aug. 3, 2021
Microsoft will mandate vaccines for all employees and automakers, vaccinated or not, will don masks again.

Roughly a week after the Centers for Disease Control updated its mask-wearing recommendations, manufacturers are again looking seriously at COVID-19 prevention tactics, including vaccine mandates. Microsoft is now the second major U.S. manufacturer to issue a mandate for employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines after Tyson Foods, and the COVID-19 Joint Task Force made up of the UAW and major Detroit automakers announced a resumption of at-work mask requirements.

The latest announcements are meant to address a concerning and recent increase in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths recorded in the past month and now include vaccine mandates as well as company-wide mask orders.

Two major manufacturers, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, have now issued notice of upcoming vaccination mandates. Tyson Foods announced August 3 it would require office employees to receive full vaccinations by October 1 and other employees November 1, pending ongoing discussions with relevant unions. Microsoft, on the same day, said it would begin requiring all of its U.S. workers to present proof of vaccine receipt in September, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

Tyson Foods employs about 120,000 people in the United States, and Microsoft, 100,000. Both companies revealed the mandate plans August 3.

While Tyson Foods and Microsoft are currently the first manufacturers to announce vaccine requirements, other companies, including the three largest U.S. automotive manufacturers, are returning to previously-paused mask mandates. The COVID-19 Joint Task Force, made up of representatives from the United Auto Workers, General Motors, Ford Motors, and Stellantis, announced Tuesday that employees at those companies would have to wear face masks at all plants, offices and warehouses starting August 4, even vaccinated employees.

“While we know that masks can be uncomfortable, the spread of the Delta variant and recent data outlining the alarmingly high rate of transmission among those unvaccinated is a serious health threat,” the Task Force said in a statement, which also encouraged members and their families to get vaccinated against the virus. The United Auto Workers, which represents workers at all three major auto manufacturers, has 400,000 active members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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