“A Lifetime of Freedom.” Those are the words on Jeep’s home page. “Our brand is built on the pillars of freedom.” The brand even claims it is “indelibly linked to freedom.” Freedom, freedom, freedom. It’s even “indelibly linked” to virtually all of their Instagram posts in the form of a hashtag. Jeep is all about freedom. That is, unless you work for them.
The branding has become a slap in the face to Jeep’s non-union workers, even those who work remotely, who’ve been targeted by their parent company’s vaccine ultimatum. Jeep is a subsidiary of Chrysler Fiat, which merged with Peugeot to form Stellantis this year.
Unrepresented workers at the multinational have been faced with a choice: show proof that they’ve taken a Covid vaccine, apply for a medical or religious exemption and thereby entrust the company with the authority to judge their religious views, or refuse to comply and face the consequences.
A leaked email from Stellantis’ COVID-19 Task Force Team reads, “all U.S. salaried non-represented employees are required to report and submit proof of their vaccination status by December 4, 2021, and be vaccinated by January 5, 2021.”
An FAQ sent out by the company threatens those who do not comply with the vaccine mandate, warning, “Individuals who do not report their status by December 4, 2021 will be considered unvaccinated.” The penalty for being unvaccinated? “Those who do not meet the vaccination requirements by January 5, 2022, will be placed on unpaid leave of absence for 30 days, and may thereafter be subject to termination if they do not comply.”
Another section of the FAQ inquires, “I work 100% remote now, does this apply to me?” It answers, “Yes. We are requiring all employees – regardless of their work arrangement – to report and submit proof of their vaccination status by December 4, 2021, and be vaccinated by January 5, 2022.”
The FAQ notes that employees are not allowed to undergo weekly testing in lieu of vaccination, but that weekly testing will be required for those who have an approved religious exemption. It also tells employees they are still mandated to get a Covid vaccine, even if they display proof of antibodies.
The only way out for those with no way to obtain a medical exemption is to submit a request for a religious exemption to the company. The form employees must submit in order to apply for a religious exemption appears to be intentionally designed to poke holes in the request. One question reads “Have you received immunizations in the past?” In what looks to be an attempt to draw an equivalency between other vaccines and the mRNA COVID-19 treatments, which of course were developed unprecedentedly fast and still do not have long-term safety data comparable to other commonly accepted vaccines.
The form follows up with the question, “If yes, what about the COVID-19 vaccination, in particular, is inconsistent with your religious belief or practice?” Beyond the questions’ intent, the entire process begins with the underlying assumption that corporate administrators are qualified to judge the sincerity and validity of one’s religious beliefs, an objectionable proposition in and of itself.
Other documents suggest the company is resorting to unethical tactics to pressure employees into getting vaccinated. The initial email sent out by the company claims that “nearly 80% of our U.S. salaried non-represented workforce have self-reported that they are already vaccinated.”
However, a separate email claims that “nearly 6,300 employees have already uploaded their vaccination status.” Stellantis has roughly 14,000 salaried employees, meaning that 6,300 responses only accounts for approximately 45 percent of them.
Even if almost 80 percent of those 6,300 employees are vaccinated, there’s no way to ensure this rate persists for the other 55 percent of salaried employees.
The salaried employee at Stellantis who provided these documents requested to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions and pointed out that the mandate had nothing to do with safety or anyone’s health. He told The Federalist that the non-represented salaried workers frequently work alongside union workers, who aren’t required to receive the vaccine.
He noted that if you follow the logic of those mandating the vaccine, “It doesn’t make any sense how you would put us back in the same building,” explaining that non-represented employees “interface with those employees daily.”
Corporate Diktats, Social Enforcement
Employees at Ford face a nearly identical ultimatum. Far from simply a matter of policy, one employee told The Federalist his work environment has become “hostile” and “toxic,” with some of his coworkers maligning those who have not chosen to take a Covid vaccine.
Screenshots from company chat logs display such vitriol, with one employee indicting “the unvaxxed crazies” as “literal Petri dishes who may be brewing up a super virus,” while another demanded that those who haven’t gotten the vaccine “should be required to wear some indication so your fellow employees can know and react accordingly.”
With one decision, both Ford and Stellantis have potentially ostracized half of their customer base. Why should “Petri dishes” offer patronage to companies that don’t believe they should be able to make their own medical decisions?
The employee who provided these chats did great in college, got a job, and works hard. He wants what everyone wants: the ability to provide for his wife and young child. But by simply asserting his medical freedom, his family’s future is in jeopardy. It’s more than just the paycheck. With a baby on the way, he’s not sure he’ll have health insurance by the end of the Christmas season.
Can there be any more glaring indictment of our ruling class and current political order? What happens when, after following the socially prescribed route to success and stability, average people in the middle class find that a dignified life has escaped their grasp, or worse, that it’s been deliberately made unattainable?
A system’s failure becomes undeniable and its tyranny intolerable when even those who follow the law and play by the agreed upon rules are backed into a corner simply for asserting their rights. Whether by government mandates, corporate policies, or adult hall monitors who deem the unvaccinated population biohazards out of a media-induced psychosis, the walls seem to be closing in on those who demand dignity and the right to make their own medical decisions.
This is the human reality of the soft but solidifying totalitarianism that has become our ruling class’s modus operandi. Firing a father and leaving a family without health care shortly before the birth of their child is a powerful threat that can be executed by purely administrative means, simply by clicking about on a keyboard and filing paperwork.
Different Perpetrators, Same Victims
That this tyranny is corporate in origin doesn’t make it any less detestable, nor does it provide any comfort to those facing the ultimatum. Whether this coercion emerges from the public or private sector is of little consequence. The result remains largely the same.
A middle class that’s been ravaged by outsourcing, social alienation, and unrelenting cultural calamity finds itself on the back foot yet again, a painful reminder that the very social order they uphold has been weaponized against them. Simultaneously well off enough to be precluded from the spoils system of government support yet not so privileged as to be independent from an often hostile corporate world or to wield power themselves, the middle class, like the non-represented employees at Stellantis and Ford, finds itself cornered.
Once enclosed only by a white picket fence, the good life is becoming elusive, increasingly demanding a slavish obedience to woke signaling and ever-changing Covid protocols. While the socially atomized state of the middle class has been taken advantage of by hostile forces, the onslaught against their cultural and economic interests might stir them to collective action.
The GOP would be wise to take up the struggle of this voiceless mass as their own, first out of obligation, but also to dethrone a deeply entrenched leftwing power structure that has foolishly made an enemy of a sleeping giant.