Vaccine Mandates in the Manufacturing Industry

Now that vaccines are commonplace, the industry is faced with serious issues about any potential manufacturing vaccine mandate.

The manufacturing industry, much like every other industry, has not been immune to the issues of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that vaccines are commonplace and even mandated within certain organizations, the manufacturing industry is faced with serious vaccination issues. These issues are not primed to go away anytime soon and reflect a growing divide between manufacturing leadership and the professionals who staff the industry.

Vaccination Perspectives from Leadership

Manufacturing industry leadership has tended to fall in line with federal and state regulations about the vaccines. When federal vaccine mandates were announced in late July, the National Association of Manufacturers announced a wholehearted support of vaccination efforts with NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons stating that these vaccines “were made for us, by people like us—manufacturers in the United States.”

Other organizations, from meatpacking entities to biotech companies, have set vaccine deadlines, established zero-tolerance vaccination policies and are requiring proof of vaccination for new hires.

However, many organizations remain supportive of the vaccine while stopping short of supporting a full-blown manufacturing vaccine mandate. Illinois Manufacturers’ Association president Mark Denzler has stated that the organization supports the vaccine but struggles to back a vaccine mandate within the industry over concerns with the cost and scope of testing and possible employee resignations.

The Labor Force’s Point of View

Industry leadership’s concerns about a manufacturing vaccine mandate are not without merit. A recent LinkedIn poll conducted by Swift Placement and Consulting showed that 81 percent of the 129 respondents did not support a manufacturing vaccine mandate. Although the sample size is small, the response reflects real concerns and sentiments expressed by those in the manufacturing industry. 

These sentiments are expressed in vaccination rate statistics, too, with only roughly 16 percent of manufacturers and distributors reporting vaccination rates greater than 80 percent. This same data shows that manufacturers’ most common vaccination rate was 41-60 percent.

Going Forward

As new variants continue to emerge and vaccine mandates remain in legal limbo, questions will remain as to what the industry will do moving into 2022. How employers and professionals respond will prove crucial to where the industry moves going forward.

Some employers have expressed a growing desire to increase automation to replace workers who resign or do not wish to comply with vaccination requirements. Others have suggested having unvaccinated workers pay for daily Covid-19 testing and/or requiring unvaccinated employees to wear masks indoors.

There is no one answer, and, ultimately, there are no easy answers. As employers and professionals are faced with the question of vaccine mandates, more uncertainty can be expected going forward.

At Swift Placement and Consulting, we know manufacturing. As we move into 2022 and continue to live with the uncertainty of Covid-19, we will continue to evolve just as our industry does, learning along the way, providing meaningful insights and making the best placements for the industry. Your success is our success—reach out and let us help your organization grow and succeed.