Clothing brand Carhartt, known for producing apparel for blue-collar workers, is facing a tidal wave of backlash after the company vowed to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its employees.
What did Carhartt do?
One day after the Supreme Court ruled against President Joe Biden’s employer COVID vaccine mandate, CEO Mark Valade emailed every Carhartt employee informing them the ruling did not change the company’s COVID vaccine policy.
“The ruling does not change Carhartt’s mandatory vaccination program, which went into effect on January 4th,” the email read.
“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,” the email continued. “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.”
The email claimed the company appreciates “there may be differing views” regarding the COVID vaccine, but stated, “An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take.”
What was the reaction?
Carhartt’s decision to keep its COVID vaccine mandate triggered a wave of backlash, calls for a boycott, and even caused former customers to burn their Carhartt apparel.
After news of the decision went public, “#BoycottCarhartt” trended on social media with tens of thousands of posts.
“Carhartt you messed up. This is one of the most sentimental things I have. This is my hat man… It’s been everywhere on the road with me and in almost every video I’ve ever made. It smells from all the sweat and dirt. It has oil stains and weld burns. Bottom line is, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen this hat. No more, it means nothing because that company didn’t stand for anything. I put so many years of hard work in with Carhartt gear for what? You’re not for the blue collar people, the middle class. I burned it all, never again,” social media personality Adam Calhoun wrote on Facebook.
Attorney Molly McCann said, “Well @Carhartt has labelled the unvaccinated dangerous and implemented a vaccine mandate. Pretty rich from a company sustained by the ranchers, farmers, laborers, etc. who make this country great and celebrate her values of freedom and liberty. Boycott Carhartt until they break.”
Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) said, “Today I wrote a letter to @GovRonDeSantis urging him to eliminate any and all state agency business & contracts with the woke company @Carhartt—which recently announced that they will be firing all unvaccinated workers. Florida must fight back against woke corporate tyranny.”
Author Ashley St. Clair said, “Cancel @Carhartt Stop supporting medical tyranny!”
A popular YouTuber known as “TheQuartering” said, “I spend thousands a year on @Carhartt hoodies, jackets & winter gear. Today that ends. I guess I am looking for alternatives. Seriously, this is insane given their target market. I am done purchasing any of their stuff and giving them thousands in free advertising. Their cloths are literally part of my brand. 15-20 MILLION views a month wearing their brand. Done. Ordering all new stuff tomorrow.”
How did Carhartt respond?
Despite the backlash, Carhartt said the vaccine mandate for employees will remain in place.
“Carhartt made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety,” a Carhartt spokesperson said in a statement.
“Our recent communication to employees was to reinforce that the Supreme Court ruling does not affect the mandate we put in place,” the statement continued. “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.”