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Vaccination Mandates – How They Impact Screen Printers and Their Staff

To navigate the labor crunch, shop managers will have to pull out all the stops.



Sources: Leading Age 10/5/21 issue | The New Employee Status; JD Supra by Shea O’Meara | Ty West, editor-in-chief of The Playbook
Sources: Leading Age 10/5/21 issue | The New Employee Status; JD Supra by Shea O’Meara | Ty West, editor-in-chief of The Playbook

EMPLOYERS FACE PROBABLY one of the most challenging periods in history to not only maintain but grow their businesses. Across the board, employers are struggling to fill critical positions. Latest statistics show upwards of 40 percent of current employees are resigning and with 25 states instituting vaccination mandates, those challenges have escalated to a whole new level.

Millions of Americans are against vaccination. With 21 US states that now specify requirements for healthcare workers to be vaccinated and regular testing of unvaccinated employees, employers have been forced into the middle of a political/social/morale issue: a place where most employers don’t want to be.

Federal guidance does not preempt state law. In Montana, vaccine status is now a protected class and employers would be discriminating under the state’s employment laws by making employment decisions – like hiring and firing – based on vaccination status. This will become increasingly relevant for employers as more states consider similar legislation.

Six states have a “vaccinate or terminate” mandate but still allow healthcare workers to perform their duties if they have a valid religious or medical exemption as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Those states include Colorado, Maine, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

According to the EEOC website under the COVID stipulations, “If you did not take a COVID-19 vaccine because of your disability or religious belief, practice, or observance, you might be able to get an exception to your employer’s vaccination requirement, and instead ask to use masks, social distancing, schedule changes, or reassignment to stay safe at work.”

Presently, nine states have passed laws that ban employers from mandating vaccines for workers and additional states are expected to follow suit. Some midwest and southern states are pursuing legal action against the current administration citing that the plan put forth is unconstitutional.*


New Hampshire bans the mandate of vaccines as a condition of employment unless the employee is considered a “direct threat,” and it cannot be addressed by other means or reasonable accommodation.

Ty West, editor-in-chief of The Playbook, says, “Now US employers have this administration’s rule from OSHA requiring large employers (100-plus employees) to either mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers. They have until January 4th to ensure this rule is in place.” The rule is temporarily blocked by a federal court, but companies should prepare to address it.

Employees Rule

At least for now. With unprecedented labor shortages, businesses need to pull out all stops when it comes to recruitment efforts, securing and maintaining employees. Companies need to be extremely flexible with their “remote work” options. In addition, sign on bonuses, award programs, CEUs, college tuition reimbursement, PTO, healthcare benefits, and every other employee benefit you can offer to set your company apart from others vying for the ideal candidate is what it will take to secure them. You’ll need to adopt this new way of thinking for the foreseeable future. But rest assured, the pendulum will swing the other way. It always does.

We asked our Brain Squad members:

How are you dealing with COVID policies to assure everyone is staying safe? Do you have a travel mandate? Does your staff have to show proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test?

  • We’ve all been vaxxed. When we print onsite or do installs we mask up. — Robert Francis, ScreenPrintPlus, Naperville, Illinois
  • No travel or vaccine mandates. — Eddie Pierce,, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Everyone is required to wear one of those creepy Spanish Flu-era bird beak masks at all times. And every Friday we sacrifice a virgin to Beelzebub. So far it’s all working 100 percent perfectly. — Kyle Baker, Baker Prints, Chicago, Illinois
  • We had a policy in place prior to vaxxing. Now we just do self-policing. — Eric Carnell, Independence Printage Corp., Bellevue, Washington
  • My entire staff is vaccinated. If someone travels, they return with a negative COVID test to ensure we are staying safe. — Christine Geronimo, Midnight Supply Company, Seattle, Washington
  • We still have mandatory masks, mandatory hand washing, limited number personnel in break areas, sanitization personnel, and a much more lenient absence policy. — Jushua Rogers, Grunt Style, Carol Stream, Illinois
  • All are vaccinated. Masks when customers come into the shop. — Kristin Deutsch, Hair of the Dog Graphics, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
  • We do contact tracing all employees every day and service people that enter the building. All staff do COVID rapid testing once a week on site, free from our Chamber of Commerce. Even though we are all double vaxxed, we wear masks if social distancing is needed, and adhere to all safety practices. Note: we are in Canada and our government has been very stringent and careful to keep the COVID mortality rate low. — Tracey Johnston-Aldworth, Traces Screen Printing, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • No vaccine, no test. If you’re sick, stay home. We have sanitizing stations around the building that we never had before COVID. — Al Messier, Team Print, Bourbonnais, Illinois
  • No. — Jim Heiser, Bullseye Activewear, Brunswick, Ohio
  • Negative test if out sick. — Steve Knight, Dynagraphics Screen Printing, Holly Springs, North Carolina
  • Double vax and proof of it to work in the studio. Restricted entry to delivery or customers. Double vax and proof to take any courses. — Andy MacDougall, MacDougall Screen Printing Ltd., Royston, British Columbia




Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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