Bridgewater Interiors, a manufacturing company in Macomb County could potentially be one of the businesses affected by President Biden’s new federal vaccine mandate.
On September 9, Biden imposed new vaccine rules on federal employers, large companies, and health care staff.
The new vaccine could apply to 100 million Americans, covering a large number of the nation’s workforce. Employers with over 100 employees are asked to mandate vaccination or weekly testing for all employees.
The mandate has been praised, however, employees are the most affected as they are the ones who are mandated to get the vaccine.
Employees affected by the mandate
“It can be difficult at times; our job is to keep all employees protected,” said LaToya Harris, Supervisor at Adient – Bridgewater Interiors. “We have to make them feel safe enough to come into work every day with the amount of employees we have.”
The manufacturing work environment is where workers have close contact with their coworkers, which leads to a high chance of exposure.
“We try to keep all the employees safe; they get tested often,” said Raphael French, Supervisor at Bridgewater Interiors. “If they feel sick, then they must take a leave until we get confirmation that they have tested negative.”
Suppose an employee does have the virus they have to quarantine, along with those close to them on the manufacturing line. The virus could cause a mass shutdown, as so many people could contract it.
“Some of us aren’t comfortable with getting the vaccine,” said Sky Herron, Production Team Member at Bridgewater Interiors. “Yet sometimes it can feel a bit uncomfortable because although we are expected to keep a distance, it is not always possible. We wear our mask, but the temperatures inside could make it extremely uncomfortable.”
Although Bridgewater has not implemented the mandate, it orders employees who aren’t comfortable like Herron to get vaccinated or be willing for frequent testing. In addition, employers are encouraged to allow paid time off so that their employees can get vaccinated.
Bridgewater Interiors offers vaccination within their facility for all employees who choose to do so.
The company and its employees continue to follow all protocols. Adjustments are made as issues arise.
“I will be happy when we can go back to normal and put this virus behind us,” said Herron.
More information about Bridgewater Interiors can be found here.