Immunization mandates exacerbate class division

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America’s patchwork approach to vaccine requirements is deepening class divisions in the pandemic.

Why is this important: New cases of the coronavirus, driven by the Delta variant, have increased 86% in the United States over the past two weeks. The rise in new infections has upended return-to-work plans for some sectors of the economy, while others cannot afford to change course.

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Inventory: Companies that can and have operated remotely, such as those in technology and financial services, need vaccines for returning workers, while service and retail companies have failed to secure mandates complete.

  • The result: Workers continue to experience the pandemic unevenly. The people who can most afford time off if they become ill or choose to work from home are those who need to be vaccinated, while service sector workers in food and retail, who do not have the same privileges, may be more at risk.

What they say : “I think the feeling is that with office workers they can get away with it, whereas for some of those populations where you’re already at or near [a labor] There is no shortage, they feel like they don’t have enough power in the equation to demand it, ”Melissa Swift, US transformation manager for consulting firm Mercer, told Axios.

In numbers : The demand for “knowledge workers” has increased by 14% over the past year, while the demand for “blue collar workers” has increased by 24% with a 50% increase in demand for only operations workers and workers. logistics, said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. .

Between the lines: A little less than 40% of American adults are still not fully immunized.

Yes, but: Companies are under pressure from all sides, including employees already vaccinated and public officials like President Biden, who urged business leaders to set the tone.

  • Divided unions are also part of the problem: Pennsylvania State Prison guards are plan legal action against the vaccine mandate of Governor Tom Wolf and based in Chicago Teamsters and New York-based healthcare workers have protested, for example, arguing that tenure deadlines are unfairly tight and reduced in wages.

  • Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO and the largest in the country teachers’ unions to have supported requirements, and Disney is in talks with unions representing cast members on mandates.

  • Amazon (like Disney and Walmart) has a shared mandate approach. “A lot of associates don’t want to be pressured into getting something,” an Amazon warehouse manager said. Bloomberg. “They would lose a lot of employees” if a warrant were deployed.

What to watch: Experts to predict other mandates – public and private – will begin once the vaccines receive full FDA approval, which is expected before the end of September.

  • Consumer packaged goods manufacturers like PepsiCo and Clorox largely pursue “a carrot rather than a stick approach,” Geoff Freeman, CEO of the Consumer Brands Association business group, told Axios.

  • “Across the industry, substantial incentives are in place to encourage employees to get vaccinated. In the weeks and months to come, we expect a stick approach and terms of reference. potential employers are becoming more common. “

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