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Why some CEOs aren’t requiring vax mandates

In this article:
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Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman discusses what he's learned about why some CEOs are choosing to not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- We are every day hearing from more companies that are saying how and whether they are going to implement vaccine mandates, particularly given the guidance from the federal government. Rick Newman had the chance to talk to some company CEOs, who are not going to implement those mandates. Rick is here with us now.

Rick, and you had these conversations at the Milken Global Conference, which I believe just wrapped up yesterday. What do these CEOs say about why they were doing this?

RICK NEWMAN: I moderated a panel discussion at the Milken Conference with five CEOs on the future of work. Of all these pandemic disruptions, what's going to stick, and what's going to go back to pre-pandemic norms. And I asked each of them whether their companies have a vaccine mandate, requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID.

And none of these companies, none of them, have a vaccine mandate for their workers. And I asked why, and there was a surprising answer, surprising to me, anyway. Generally, they feel like if they required vaccines, they would lose some percentage of their workers who would just say, nope, I'm going to go find a job someplace else where they don't make me get the vaccine. And this, of course, is related to the worker shortage.

You know, most workers can just jump from one company to another these days. So one CEO of a hospital chain told me he thought he would probably lose around 2% of his workers if he required vaccines. And that might not sound like a lot, but they are already having trouble staffing their hospitals, which are generally in regional areas, rural areas, and things like that. And a 2% loss would be pretty significant.

Another CEO of a manufacturing company told me he thought he would lose 20% of his workers. And he just can't keep his company running if he loses 20% or even 10% of his labor force. So these companies are all encouraging their workers to get vaccinated, and they're doing educational programs and things like that, but not requiring vaccines.

- Well, I mean, frankly, that's pretty alarming, if you're going into a hospital, that the person who's working on you might not be vaccinated. Are they doing other, are they testing on a regular basis? Are they, you know, how are they approaching this?

RICK NEWMAN: I think they're doing everything they can to persuade workers to get vaccinated, short of requiring it. And, you know what they're really waiting for, they're waiting for this federal requirement to go into effect. President Biden has said he wants to issue a federal regulation that's going to require all companies with a hundred employees or more to require vaccinations. And most of these CEOs, that's what they want.

They want the government to be the one that requires it, because what that would do, obviously, is it would make all companies abide by the same rules. So you can't have a company that is poaching workers by saying, hey, we're not going to require you to get vaccinated. Come work over here. So that's sort of a differentiator between companies that these CEOs feel they don't want to make themselves vulnerable to.

So they're waiting for a federal requirement. They think that would be a good thing in general. And there also are some state and local requirements, so they do have to have everybody vaccinated in certain areas.

So that's what they want. They want one rule that applies to every company the same, rather than having to make the decision themselves.

- That makes sense. Rick Newman, thank you so much, sounds like a really interesting discussion. And you can look to YahooFinance.com at some point to get some more details on that conversation.