President Biden is set to meet on Wednesday with top executives from Microsoft, The Walt Disney Co., Kaiser Permanente and other companies that have backed vaccine mandates, days after he asked employees of large companies to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. announced a federal effort to be tested regularly.
A White House official said the meeting would highlight Biden’s argument that the vaccine mandate is good for the economy, while spotlighting employers who have mandates for workers or who have praised Biden’s order. The official said the meeting was to garner more commercial support for the mandate.
One of the invitees to the meeting, Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, said in an interview Wednesday that his company drafted a policy mandating vaccines months ago. But it was not until Mr Biden announced last week that he was directing the Labor Department to issue an emergency safety declaration that would effectively act as a vaccine mandate for millions of workers. had stopped doing. Columbia Sportswear told its employees it would roll out the vaccine requirement next week.
Mr Boyle said Columbia is concerned that by acting alone it will risk losing more than half of its workforce in distribution centers and retail stores. Mr Biden’s order, he said, reduced the risk that workers who do not want to be vaccinated would leave to work elsewhere.
“There is little opportunity for people to go somewhere where they don’t need vaccinations,” he said.
Mr Boyle said vaccination has divided Colombia’s workforce. Managers at its Portland, Ore., headquarters have largely embraced the shots, he said, but retail and warehouse workers across the country have been more reluctant. Hesitation has caused the company to be forced to shut down and sanitize locations due to the risk of contamination and infection, he said.
“Those operations are based on people working closely together,” he said. Having uneducated workers is “highly disruptive”.
Several companies poised to meet with Mr. Biden have already established mandates for at least part of their work force, including Disney, Walgreens and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.