Get vaccinated or lose your job, furniture makers say
Furniture makers require vaccination.

Three of West Michigan’s largest furniture manufacturers are requiring their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in response to President Biden's federal vaccine mandate.

The companies, MillerKnoll, Haworth and Steelcase are mandating all employees be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, 2021. All three companies are major suppliers of office furniture to the U.S. government, and the companies made the decision to maintain this business.

"The United States Federal Government recently issued a vaccine mandate, Executive Order 14042, for all federal contractors,” according to a statement from Haworth. “Many US-based companies, including the major furniture manufacturers, must comply with this order.

Haworth has a significant amount of business that is covered by this order and this business is fulfilled by great members at all locations. In order to protect those jobs, Haworth will be complying with this order.”

Going forward, the company said, workers will have to provide proof of vaccination or have a medical or religious exemption as a condition of employment at Haworth by the Dec. 8 deadline.

MillerKnoll Inc., which said it is the largest supplier of office furniture to the U.S. government, also stated that the company is adhering to the mandate that requires employees meet the Executive order by the deadline. 

MillerKnoll is offering employees up to four hours of paid time off to get vaccinated. 

“There will be medical and religious exemptions made but those who refuse to be vaccinated will no longer be employed,” the statement said.

In a statement, Steelcase Inc. said it was “company policy to work in full cooperation with the agencies that regulate our business to ensure that we are compliant with applicable laws and regulations.”

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).

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Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]