CHICAGO (Reuters) -General Electric Co has asked its U.S.-based workers to get COVID-19 shots or seek a medical or religious accommodation by Dec. 8 in order to comply with U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order.
As part of efforts to control the pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans, Biden, a Democrat, last month signed the order requiring federal contractors to mandate COVID-19 shots for employees and get them vaccinated by Dec. 8.
As a federal contractor, GE said it is complying with the executive order. The company updated its vaccine policy for more than 50,000 U.S. workers last week.
The Boston-based conglomerate is the latest U.S. employer to impose such a requirement, which has sparked a political fight.
While supporters of vaccine mandates see them as necessary to pull the country out of the nearly two-year-old pandemic, critics are calling them unconstitutional and authoritarian.
The White House has said vaccine requirements have driven up COVID-19 vaccination rates by 20 percentage points.
The measure has drawn a sharp reaction from some Republicans, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott last week barring COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any entity, including private employers.
Union Pacific Corp (NYSE:UNP) and its three unions have sued each other over the vaccine mandate.