On Friday, July 30th, The Walt Disney Co. announced that all salaried and non-union hourly Disney employees located in the United States will need the COVID-19 vaccination within 60 days. The Walt Disney company has stated that “the safety and well-being of … employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Vaccines are the best tool we … have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.” This announcement comes shortly following Disney’s decision to require all staff and guests onsite to wear masks regardless of vaccination status while indoors. These changes come with the emergence of the COVID-19 delta variant cases causing other companies to make similar changes. Netflix announced the mandatory vaccination status on its film sets on July 28th with the sets where actors work. This change was in turn caused by major Hollywood studios and guilds releasing safety protocols on July 19th with the option for producers to implement mandatory vaccination protocols.
Other companies also follow suit, such as Walmart. Walmart is currently the nation’s largest private employer with ~1.6 million workers and it has announced that vaccines are mandatory for employees in its headquarters and managers who travel domestically in the USA. Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon stated that “[Walmart believes it has] an important role to play and [believes] the requirement for vaccinations for our leaders is key to driving … an end to this pandemic.”
Exceptions to the Rules
While both Disney and Walmart have implemented these rules for mandatory vaccinations, there are groups of workers in both companies that are left out as exceptions. Retail workers were left out of the picture mainly due to the fact that there are high turnover rates. CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies professor Ruth Milkman states that “In Walmart and places like that, there’s tremendous turnover. too, among the hourly work force – so, you know, this would just add to that.” Walmart is using cash bonus techniques in the form of $150 bonuses to vaccinated employees in order to incentivize vaccinations, but the pace is slowly staggering.