The challenges faced by employers in the US to get workers vaccinated.

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source: nytimes.com

Among those who take the most authoritarian stance are the federal government, California and New York governments, the tech giants Google and Facebook, the Walt Disney Co., and the NFL.

Employers in the United States are losing patience with workers who do not want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

For months, most employers turned to information campaigns, bonuses, and other incentives to encourage their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, a growing number of them are imposing rules to make life difficult for those who refuse to be inoculated, from direct orders to requiring regular coronavirus tests.

Employers taking a stricter stance include the federal government, the California and New York governments, tech giants Google and Facebook, the Walt Disney Co., and the NFL. Some hospitals, universities, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment establishments have also started to require their workers to be vaccinated.

But the new measures are unlikely to affect the millions of Americans who have not been vaccinated.

Many of the companies asking for vaccination have primarily workers who are already inoculated and who are not willing to work alongside those who are not.

In contrast, major companies that rely on low-income workers - such as food producers, warehouses, supermarkets, and other chain stores - are avoiding vaccination orders for fear of driving away employees and worsening labor shortages.

Tyson Foods, for example, said that about half of its employees in the United States, some 56,000 people, have been vaccinated after the meat and poultry processor held more than 100 vaccination events since February. However, the company said it does not plan to impose an order for the other half to be inoculated.

Walmart and Amazon, two of the nation's largest private employers, have also refused to require their workers to be vaccinated and have continued to rely on strategies such as bonuses and on-site access to vaccines. But in a potentially powerful signal, Walmart said employees at its headquarters would be required to get vaccinated by October 4.

The most considerable precedent so far comes from the federal government, the nation's largest employer. President Joe Biden announced last week that all federal employees and contractors must be vaccinated or undergo weekly tests and be denied benefits such as official travel.

The federal government has said it will cover the cost of weekly tests. However, insurance may pay for such tests in some workplaces as for other employers but not in others.

Brian Kropp, head of research at Human Resource Practice at Gartner Consultancy, said Biden's decision could encourage other employers to say they would have a solid legal basis to enforce similar laws.

But Kropp said some companies face more complex legal considerations, including strong resistance to vaccines in many states where they operate.

Kropp added that retailers such as Walmart can strive to justify the need for vaccines for their workers and allow buyers to live without the vaccine.

For the most part, stores have avoided vaccine requirements for customers out of fear of alienating them and the difficulty of verifying their status.

In Gartner surveys, less than 10% of employers have said they require all employees to be vaccinated.

But there is a shift between frustration at stable vaccination rates and the risk of highly contagious delta-type outbreaks.

On Monday, the US finally reached Biden's goal of giving at least one injection to 70% of American adults, but a month late and amid a drastic increase driving the number of hospital cases in some places to their homes. Highest levels since the outbreak began. The president hoped to reach his goal by July 4.

The Union Square Hospitality Group, a New York City restaurant and bar group founded by Danny Meyer, now requires employees and consumers to be vaccinated by September 7.

The San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance, a group of about 300 bars, made a similar decision after a meeting where "what stood out was anger and frustration" over vaccine rejections, founder Ben said. Bleiman.

Although some companies fear that the vaccine order will separate workers, the epidemic itself is causing absenteeism. Bleiman said he recently had to shut down his bar for one night after his waiter, who was fully vaccinated, tested positive, and no replacement could be found.

Some employers are concluding that requiring vaccinations is more straightforward than trying to establish different rules about masks and social distancing for the small number of unvaccinated employees.

BlackRock, the global investment manager, only allows vaccinated workers into its US offices for now and said people would be free to go without masks, as local health guidelines allow, and sit side by side. And meet without restrictions. The firm said 85 percent of its American employees have been vaccinated or are in the process of receiving them.

Hospitals and nursing homes, for example, are increasingly in need of vaccines. So far, these mandates have escaped legal challenges. For example, more than 150 employees of a Houston hospital system who refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were fired or resigned after a judge dismissed an employee's lawsuit as necessary.

Atria Senior Living, which operates more than 200 nursing homes across the country, was one of the first to order vaccinations for its staff in January.

It worked.CEO and President John Moore said about 10,000 to 99 percent of Eritrean employees have been vaccinated and only a small portion resigns unnecessarily. "Our people deserve to live in a vaccinated environment. Likewise, our staff deserves to work in a vaccinated climate, "said Moore.