Vaccine Mandates on the Agenda for More and More Businesses
So far, most companies have chosen incentives over mandates, says Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching at consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
But that may be about to change.
“It’s something companies have been thinking about for a long time,” said Challenger. But he said surveys conducted by the company found only 3-4% percent of employers said that they would consider mandating the vaccine.
“It was a very, very, very low number. Most were just saying it’s too hot a political issue and we just don’t want to go into it,” said Challenger. “And then last week the dam broke. We had Google, then Facebook, Walmart, Disney … all these major leader companies that everyone else looks at what they’re doing, take this first step. So I think that’s really going to change the calculus.”
He said the actions of such corporate behemoths will give cover to smaller companies to contemplate vaccine mandates of their own.
“I think it is now an issue that is legitimately on the table for a much broader set of companies,” said Challenger.
And fears about the spread of the highly contagious delta variant may also be changing minds about mandates.
Chicago Tonight Interview with Andy Challenger
Paris Schutz interviewed Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of global outplacement and executive coaching firm, Challenger, Gray and Christmas, and Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on Chicago Tonight. See the full clip below.
Anchor Paris Schutz: More employers are now mandating vaccination as a condition of returning to the office, among them some of the country’s largest corporations from Walmart to Tyson Foods. This as President Joe Biden announces his administration will require almost all federal employees to get vaccinated and as the Delta variant rages across the country, but will other companies follow suit? Joining us are Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of global outplacement and executive coaching firm, Challenger, Gray and Christmas. So you’ve seen these major companies kind of start the ball rolling. What are you seeing among Chicago area companies? What percentage of them are requiring vaccinations for their employees?
Andy Challenger: You know, it’s a pretty new phenomenon, right? We’ve been surveying companies throughout COVID at various different points, knowing that the vaccine was coming and the questions around mandate was coming. But less than 3% of companies consistently told us that they were going to mandate it. And so when the dam broke this week, and we saw dozens of Fortune 100 companies and now that they’re going to change their policies and start mandate vaccines really surprised us. We don’t have any data on the percentage of Chicago companies yet, but certainly there will be companies that follow in the footsteps of these really large organizations.
PS: And Andrew Challenger, some US appellate courts have ruled at least in the case of universities that are mandating vaccination that it is legal to do so it is constitutional. Do you anticipate any kind of legal issues with employers mandating that their employees get this as a condition of coming back to work?
AC: Well, certainly people hold their views about the vaccine really strongly. There’s lots of people that are going to have a hard time if their company decides to mandate it. And so while it does seem very clear from most legal experts – this most recent case in the appellate court around Indiana University – that it is going to be legal for companies to demand the vaccine, all of them are pretty much going to be expecting some form of lawsuits, especially if they’re large enough.
PS: Most workers are ‘at will employees’ wherever they work, I work here, I’m subject to the rules at WTTW. You know, labor groups are kind of split on this. Let’s hear what the Chicago Federation of Labor said today to us they said, quote, “we’re currently reviewing our affiliates position on workplace vaccinations. However, we encourage everyone to make the decision to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their coworkers, and their families.” Could this become a collective bargaining issue? You might have labor unions here saying, “well, we don’t think that as a union, it’s fair to make our workers do this. We should encourage them to do it, but maybe not make them do it?”
AC: I think you are going to see some push back, those unions represent a lot of workers. And there are a lot of workers in the country right now that are really hesitant to get the vaccine. And so you’re going to see some of them step up and represent their people in that way. Almost certainly.
PS: Thank you so much for joining us.
With some of America’s biggest companies now imposing vaccine mandates, is it just a matter of time before other businesses follow suit?https://t.co/UkimkMG2zV
— WTTW (Chicago PBS) (@wttw) August 6, 2021
Chicago Tonight is a television news program broadcast weeknights on WTTW in Chicago. It reports primarily on local politics, education, business, culture, science and health, with a mix of in-studio panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and short documentary-style packages.