Carhartt holds firm on employee vaccine mandate: ‘We stand behind our decision’

 (Alamy/Sipa USA)
(Alamy/Sipa USA)

American workwear company Carhartt is standing by its decision to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for employees, even as critics have threatened to boycott the company.

The clothing firm told employees that a company mandate on Covid vaccinations would be required, despite a Supreme Court ruling against a federal mandate for private companies in the US.

“We stand behind our decision because we believe vaccines are necessary to protect our workforce,” Carhartt said in a statement to CBS News.

“Carhartt made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety. Our recent communication to employees was to reinforce that the Supreme Court ruling does not affect the mandate we put in place,” the company added in the statement.

A backlash followed the decision on Twitter on Friday, with mandate critics and conservatives calling for a boycott of the Michigan-based firm “until they break”.

Attorney Molly McCann was among those calling for a boycott and wrote: “Well Carhartt has labelled the unvaccinated dangerous and implemented a vaccine mandate”.

“Pretty rich from a company sustained by the ranchers, farmers, laborers, etc. who make this country great and celebrate her values of freedom and liberty,” the attorney argued. “Boycott Carhartt until they break.”

Charlie Kirk, the co-founder and director of Turning Point USA, likewise entered the debate and called on his followers to boycott Carhartt.

“Carhartt is betraying their entire customer base of hard-working Americans by forcing unconstitutional Medical Tyranny on their employees, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Mr Kirk tweeted. “Stop buying Carhartt until they reverse course - this is unacceptable.”

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It came after Carhartt CEO Mark Valade emailed workers a day after the US Supreme Court ruled against President Joe Biden’s retirement for big employers to ask workers to be vaccinated, to remind employees that they were still subject to a company mandate.

“We put workplace safety at the very top of our priority list and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling doesn’t impact that core value,” Mr Valade wrote in an email that was shared to social media.

“We, and the medical community, continue to believe vaccines are necessary to ensure a safe working environment for every associate and even perhaps their households,” the CEO of Carhartt continued, calling an unvaccinated workforce “both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take”.

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The commitment to a vaccine requirement did win Carhartt and its CEO numerous fans on social media, with one person writing that it “might be time to buy some more”.

“Another morning, another weird boycott attempt by the horse medicine crowd,” tweeted another new fan of the clothing firm. “Respect to Carhartt for sticking to their plan and trying to keep their folks safe.”

Many other big companies in the US have introduced similar mandates, with the likes of Fox News asking its workforce to show proof of vaccination against Covid, as The New York Times reported last month.

The number of fully vaccinated Americans remains around 60 per cent of the population, while Covid infections are currently averaging around 724,000 a day.

Additional reporting by The Washington Post.