Michigan-based clothing company Carhartt announced that it will keep its vaccine mandate in place despite the Supreme Court’s recent ruling. Carhartt CEO Mark Valade sent out an internal email to employees informing them as his decision. The email leaked and has since gone viral on social media.
Private companies can still choose to implement requirements. But the federal government cannot mandate the vaccine based on company size, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month. A federal mandate issued by the Biden administration tried to institute a policy in which any company with at least 100 employees had to comply with mandates, or face repercussions from safety organization OSHA.
Carhartt Issues a Statement in Response to Backlash
Carhartt caters to a wide demographic of customers that likely hold varying beliefs about the mandates. Thus, the company’s insistence came as a surprise to many people. As a result, social media users created a hashtag encouraging customers to boycott Carhartt.
The clothing and apparel company issued the following statement in response.
“Carhartt made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety. Our communication to employees was to reinforce that the Supreme Court ruling does not affect our mandate.”
Carhartt continued: “[We] fully understands and respects the varying opinions on this topic, and we are aware some of our associates do not support this policy. However, we stand behind our decision because we believe vaccines are necessary to protect our workforce.”
The state of Michigan has elected officials in place who have become very outspoken on the topic of COVID restrictions. From the Governor’s mansion down, the political messaging in Michigan has remained clear: more distancing, more masks, and more vaccines. Carhartt is headquartered in Dearborn and boasts 600 Michigan residents as employees across corporate and retail sectors.
According to their website, the brand began in 1889 “with two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor in a small Detroit loft.” So the connections to Michigan run very deep for this brand.
The Supreme Court’s Thoughts on Mandates
The Supreme Court heard arguments on mandates for both businesses and healthcare workers on Friday, Jan. 7. The court decided to keep the healthcare mandate in place, but drop the business mandate. The country’s highest court issued the following statement:
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
The court also issued this dissenting opinion:
“Today, we are not wise. In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible.”