Carhartt’s decision to keep requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees sparked a social media outcry against the clothing company.
With its rugged outdoor clothing, Carhartt may be one of the only brands that appeals to both rural workers and urban hipsters, but it is currently embroiled in a debate that is dividing its client base: workforce vaccine mandates.
A letter addressed to employees illustrating Carhartt’s vaccine policy began spreading on social media earlier this week, angering many who disagree with the policy. The letter was sent in response to the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down President Biden’s plan to require immunizations or routine COVID testing for businesses with more than 100 employees.
According to a copy of an email that appears to have been sent on Friday from CEO Mark Valade to all Carhartt employees, the company is moving ahead with its mandatory vaccination program, which went into effect on Jan. 4 and requires all workers to be vaccinated by Feb. 15.
Valade wrote, according to the leaked email:
“We put workplace safety at the very top of our priority list and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling doesn’t impact that core value. We, and the medical community, continue to believe vaccines are necessary to ensure a safe working environment for every associate and even perhaps their households. While we appreciate that there may be differing views, workplace safety is an area where we and the union that represents our associates cannot compromise. An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take.”
Carhartt just put themselves on the going out of business notice. Do they realize their base is blue collar conservative working class. Buh bye Carhartt. pic.twitter.com/GvmagwmQeg
— LiberalsHaveNoClue (@DemsAreCrap) January 18, 2022
Many reacted negatively on social media, using a #BoycottCarhartt tag against the brand, which is popular with conservatives. By Wednesday afternoon, the brand had been mentioned in more than 60,000 tweets.
In an email, a spokesman reaffirmed the company’s position.
“Carhartt 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,” he wrote.
On Twitter, Carhartt was a trending topic and the backlash was plentiful.
A company that forces its employees to take meds against their will that at this point is proven it doesn’t stop the spread or transmission is not believing in worker safety. Take your self care vax somewhere else! #BoycottCarhartt
— Dana (@thekrohsnest) January 18, 2022
Does @Carhartt even understand that this opens them up to lawsuits? They don’t have daddy government to cover their asses if an employee has a bad reaction or if they want to fire someone for refusing. pic.twitter.com/5z15zIBhcI
— Natalie F Danelishen (@Chesschick01) January 18, 2022