GE Halts, Honeywell Keeps Vaccine Policy After High Court Ruling
- Split reactions follow Supreme Court decision to block mandate
- GE is first major company to reverse its stance after decision
January 14, 2022, 8:40 AM PSTUpdated onJanuary 14, 2022, 2:20 PM PST General Electric Co.
is suspending implementation of the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers while another industrial heavyweight, Honeywell International Inc.
, will stick to its policy.
The Boston-based maker of jet engines, wind turbines and medical scanners confirmed its decision Friday via email. GE is the first major company to halt its policy after the Supreme Court blocked
the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s push to boost Covid-19 vaccinations.
Yet the court’s ruling has had no effect on a workplace vaccination mandate at Honeywell, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based maker of automation equipment and aircraft parts said by email Friday. More than 98% of its U.S. employees covered by the requirement for large employers or a separate mandate for federal contractors are either vaccinated or have an approved exemption, it said.
“We have consistently maintained that vaccinations are the best way to protect our employees, as well as their loved ones and coworkers, since safe and effective vaccines became available early last year,” a Honeywell spokesman said.Read More: Omicron Surge Gives Bosses Reason to Order Shots Biden Can’t
Vaccine rules have taken on greater significance as the surging omicron variant has roiled return-to-office plans, complicated school re-openings and caused scores of workers to call in sick. Without the federal mandate, which would have applied to employers with 100 or more workers, the choice would be left to individual companies.
The other rule that applies to federal contractors remains in limbo after it was blocked
by a federal judge last month. GE, which has a number of government contracts, stopped rolling out a vaccine requirement under that measure following the December court decision.
(Updates with Honeywell news from first paragraph)Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS rulingIvana Saric
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.Why it matters:
The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's
COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.State of play:
“We respect the court’s ruling,” John Culver, Starbucks' chief operating officer, wrote in the memo, seen by Axios.
The big picture:
- Culver said the company continues to encourage workers to get vaccinated and boosted against the virus, and to disclose their vaccination status. It will also continue providing benefits that such as self-isolation pay and vaccine pay.
- "Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated," Culver added.
The Supreme Court's decision to block the vaccine mandate for large employers has led to mixed responses from companies.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.
- In an email to employees the day after the Supreme Court, apparel company Carhartt said that vaccines would remain mandatory, the Washington Post reported.
- Citigroup is also standing by its vaccine mandate for employees, while General Electric will not, per the Wall Street Journal.