An arbitrator has decided that Stellantis must end its COVID-19 vaccine requirement in Canada.
Last year, on October 14, General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis all said that their employees had to get vaccinated. The automaker’s policy went into effect on December 17, 2021, and in January, employees who hadn’t gotten their shots were suspended without pay.
Unifor Local 444 and Unifor Local 1285, which represent the Windsor Assembly Plant and the Brampton Assembly Plant, filed a complaint about the policy and went to arbitration with Stellantis lawyers.
In a decision made on June 17, the arbitrator said that the policy was reasonable at first, but it had to end by June 25 so that some suspended employees could go back to work.
Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444, said in a statement, “The arbitrator ruled that when the policy was put in place and put into effect, it was’reasonable’ at that time and has remained reasonable up until now.” “However, the virus epidemiology study shows that the COVID-19 virus changes all the time, so this policy is no longer reasonable as of June 25, 2022.”
Cassidy also said that the arbitrator took into account the fact that the Federal Government decided on June 20 to stop requiring government employees to get vaccinated.
Arbitrator Marilyn Nairn said, “The evidence supports a conclusion that there is no significant difference in the risk of transmission of Omicron between a two-dose vaccine regimen and not getting vaccinated.” “According to the definition in the Policy, there is no longer a reason to kick employees out of work who haven’t been vaccinated.”
Stellantis put out a short statement after the ruling, but it didn’t say anything about how the employees who were suspended will get back to work.
The company said, “We are very happy that the arbitrator agreed that the Stellantis vaccine policy is fair.” “Stellantis takes its responsibility to give its more than 9,000 employees in Canada a safe and healthy place to work very seriously. Before deciding what to do next, we are carefully going over the decision.”
In an interview with the Detroit News, Ford spokesperson Kerri Stoakley stated that more than 95 per cent of the company’s Canadian employees have had vaccinations or have received an exemption. The deadline for its policy has been moved from May 2 to July 4.