By Maria Estaphanos
Carhartt, a popular clothing and gear brand, has recently been facing controversy that is dividing its customer base: workforce vaccine mandates.
Several customers have vowed to boycott Carhartt products after a memo by CEO Mark Valade surfaced on social media. The memo focuses on the company’s response to the ruling on Biden’s administration vaccine rules for workforces that was struck down by the supreme court. Despite the ruling, Carhartt kept its corporate policy, requiring its 5,500 workers to be vaccinated.
“The ruling does not change Carhartt’s mandatory vaccination program, which went into effect on Jan. 4,” states Mark Valade, Carhart’s chief executive. “An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take,” Valade added.
Many say that there are reasons other than safety that should be considered, Carhartt later told CBS that only the “vast majority” of its employees are vaccinated and that it has given some exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
There are many different opinions on this debacle. “I don’t think the CEO is definitely not in the wrong, he enforced this mandate for the safety of his workers, and those who don’t like it can quit,” states Jadyn Hughes, a Mt. Hebron student, on the topic.
Carhartt hasn’t been the only brand to enforce the vaccine, neither have other big brands such as Google, Tyson Foods, and United Airlines.
CBS states, “About 36 percent of Americans say their employers require them to get a Covid-19 vaccination, while another 43 percent say their bosses are encouraging the shot but not requiring it.”
The reasoning behind this boycott is based on people’s ability to choose if they want to get vaccinated. “The CEO is in the wrong, some people also have issues and personal reasons why they can’t get it, they shouldn’t have to quit their job if they need the money just because they can’t get vaccinated,” stated Karen Abdelsayed a student at Long Reach High School.
Social media has drastically impacted this boycott on sites such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, there are many different opinions and there have been many petitions and statements on the topic. People have stopped buying Carhartt clothing, burned it, and donated it to express their discontent towards the company’s policy.
Sarah Ginty, a Carhartt supporter stated, “This isn’t the downfall of Carhartt, they are a huge brand, and many people support their vaccination decision, or simply just do not care. People burning and donating the clothes they bought there does not affect the brand since they already got it.”
With all this controversy, it is unpredictable how Carhartt will be affected by their choice to stand with their vaccination policy, but for the time being they aren’t changing it and stand firm by their mandate for worker’s safety.