We’ve been nicer than usual in the pandemic era.
We actually handed out a few raises. We allowed more of the workplace flexibility you crave. We even let many of you work from home — even if it meant your families and pets interrupting our virtual meetings.
This was all based on hopes that social distancing, masks, medical education and scientific advancements would create a climate in which we could get back to a new business normal.
Our nation, its economy, and our bottom lines got close to that goal, but then, sadly, that progress stopped. The pandemic is surging again.
It seems some of you — actually, far too many of you — won’t take a vaccine that is decidedly a healthier option for virtually all of you, risking coronavirus and its variants. Not only is your lack of vaccination a personal risk, but it’s also dangerous for your co-workers, our business partners and customers.
Leading medical experts say you should get vaccinated to save yourself and stop the pandemic’s spread.
But maybe you need a bigger nudge. So, with regret, it’s back to “normal” for this boss — niceties are over.
If you don’t get vaccinated, you risk being terminated.
To our collective health,
Your fearless leaders
Of course, no CEO would actually write this note. HR would have a fit.
But many legal experts say private-sector employers likely have the right to demand their staff be vaccinated — especially now that Pfizer’s vaccine has full government approval.
Corporate leaders have clearly become impatient. They’ve decided to use their freedom and workplace muscle to choose what risks are worthwhile for their enterprises. Unvaccinated workers have become a no-go.
Yes, the workplace vaccination drive isn’t simply a health concern for a company’s communities. There are monetary motivations, too. Healthier nation, healthier profits.
So it’s been a summer of memos directing workers to new vaccination requirements, especially for those returning to offices or doing consumer-facing jobs.
Expect the trend to quicken as coronavirus grows again, threatening a full economic recovery. Despite a swift rebound from spring 2020’s coronavirus lockdowns, California employment is only at 94% of its pre-pandemic levels; jobs nationwide are at 96%.
Many workers like the mandate idea, a new poll says. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 50% of workers polled support making the shots a job requirement while just 26% oppose it.
My quick review of media reports on workplace vaccine mandates finds private employers from all industries telling workers to get their shots in various ways — from Walt Disney to Google to Goldman Sachs to Ford Motor to McDonald’s.
Not to mention … Anthem, Ascension Health, AT&T, BlackRock, Capital One, Cardinal Health, Chevron, Cisco, Citigroup, CNN, CVS, Deloitte, Delta Airlines, DoorDash, Durst, Eli Lilly, Enlivant, Envision Healthcare, Equinox, Facebook, Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, Frontier Airlines, Gilead Sciences, GM, Hawaii Airlines, Hess, Houston Methodist Hospital, IntegraCare, Jefferies Financial, Johnson & Johnson, Lastique, Lyft, MGM Resorts International, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, NBCUniversal, Netflix, New York Times, Northwestern Mutual, Norweigan Cruise Lines, Pfizer, Politico, Redfin, RedHat, Saks, Saks Fifth Avenue, Salesforce, Sunrise Senior Living, TJX, Twitter, Tyson Foods, Uber, Union Square Hospitality, United Airlines, UPS, ViacomCBS, Walgreens, Walgreens, Walmart and The Washington Post.
These are not the actions of “hip” companies with political agendas crushing worker freedoms. This is a broad group of the nation’s CEOs using their marketplace rights to say “enough” to the anti-vaccination crowd.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]