Carhartt was trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning — and it wasn’t because of a trendy new item.
The workwear and outdoor apparel company went Twitter viral on Tuesday morning for its stance regarding vaccinations across its staff. Various Twitter users posted an image of what appeared to be an internal email to staff members that reiterated the company’s vaccination policy. The letter, which stated that associates needed to be vaccinated by a deadline of Feb. 15, appeared to be from the company’s CEO Mark Valade and spurred a divisive reaction online, with some users calling for a boycott or cancelation of the brand.
Stop supporting medical tyranny! pic.twitter.com/j66vftsVLO
— Ashley St. Clair (@stclairashley) January 18, 2022
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. pic.twitter.com/kyHaNwlO6c
— TheQuartering (@TheQuartering) January 18, 2022
In a statement to FN, Carhartt said that its recent communication to employees was meant to reinforce the company’s existing vaccine mandate, given the Supreme Court’s recent decision to turn down the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees.
“Carhartt made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety,” a company spokesperson said. “Our recent communication to employees was to reinforce that the Supreme Court ruling does not affect the mandate we put in place.”
The spokesperson 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.”
Despite the criticism online, many users came out in support of the company’s policy. In a tweet sharing the letter, Democratic Representative for Georgia’s State House District 106 Rebecca Mitchell said “Shoutout to @Carhartt for prioritizing worker health in this way.”
Other Twitter users expressed a similar sentiment.
Even though the Supreme Court blocked a federal vaccine mandate for now, various companies have already announced their own vaccine requirements, with some beginning to fire employees who do not comply.
VF Corporation, Columbia Sportswear Co. and TJX Companies have all recently said they will fire office-based employees who do not receive the vaccine by a certain date. Nike is reported to have said similarly. Other companies including Under Armour, Walmart and Saks Fifth Avenue are requiring vaccines among office staff as well, though most have not including store employees in these requirements.