LANSING, Mich. — Hundreds of employees at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its subsidiaries lost their jobs today after failing to comply with the company’s COVID vaccine mandate.
Back in October, the insurance company implemented a policy requiring employees to get the vaccine or apply for religious or medical exemptions.
Many people applied for the exemptions, according to union leaders and employees, but the bulk of those exemptions were denied.
Employees had until Tuesday at noon to upload a copy of their vaccine cards or face termination as of today.
According to an emailed statement from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 250 people were terminated under the policy.
"Our workplace policies and safety protocols have evolved over many months," the statement said, "and our employees have demonstrated, time and again, their flexibility and commitment to manage through these changes."
"Since announcing our policy on Oct. 29, over 1,900 unvaccinated employees have made the choice to receive their vaccines, or have been approved for a medical or religious accommodation," it continued. "Out of more than 10,000 employees at Blue Cross and our subsidiaries, more than 96 percent are vaccinated. Regrettably, 250 employees chose not to comply with the company’s vaccine mandate and were therefore terminated Jan. 5.
Vaccination of its workforce "is intended to help safeguard the collective health and well-being of our employees," the statement said. "Further, as a health care organization, we believe that protecting our workforce through vaccinations will save lives and help alleviate the strain COVID outbreaks are causing within Michigan’s health care system."
The company declined to provide the number of employees who applied for an exemption and how many were denied.
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