Stellantis has pushed back the implementation timeline for its mandatory vaccination policy at its Canadian facilities until Dec. 31, giving workers two extra weeks to comply and the company adequate time to work through exception requests.
The automaker had originally planned to bar unvaccinated staff from Canadian sites Dec. 17 after announcing the vaccine requirement in mid-October. Consequences for non-compliance, the company has said, will extend to termination.
“Our Stellantis vaccine policy in Canada remains unchanged, however, to accommodate the review of requests for exemption on a case-by-case basis, we have extended the end date to Dec. 31, company spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin said in an email.
Unifor Local 444 President David Cassidy, who has argued “nobody should be fired” over the policy, said the two-week reprieve is a “move in the right direction.”
“It’s going to allow people to retire at the end of December without any worry,” he said in an update to members posted to Facebook Nov. 24.
Despite the delay, Cassidy, who represents hourly workers at Stellantis’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ont., urged active union members who have not yet disclosed their vaccination status to do so before the end of November. He warned Stellantis plans to start “disciplining” workers that have not shared the information Dec. 1.
Gosselin would not comment on what sort of discipline workers would face.
Unifor has repeatedly affirmed its support for vaccine mandates that are “fair and reasonable,” but has been pushing back against policies released separately by the Detroit Three automakers Oct. 14. The dismissal of long-time workers who fail to get vaccinated has been among the points of contention.
In letters to locals 88 and 707, which represent, respectively, workers at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll and at Ford Motor Co.’s Oakville Assembly Plant, Unifor president Jerry Dias said the companies had shown a “willingness to discuss” and are open to some proposed changes to the policies submitted by the union.
General Motors, however, has not altered the implementation timeline for its mandate, set for Dec. 12.
The company confirmed there had been no changes to its policy as of Nov. 25, but would not comment further.
As with Stellantis staff, GM employees must report their vaccination status in the interim. In an update posted Nov. 25 on the website of Unifor Local 88, the union warned members that those who fail to complete their vaccine status survey by Dec. 1 “will have their badge deactivated and put on an unpaid LOA [leave of absence].”
Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its vaccine mandate takes effect Jan. 3.