McCarthy Tire Service Tells Employees Getting the Vaccine Is 'the Right Thing to Do'
As the U.S. nears the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns, all eyes are on the vaccines. McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. is tracking vaccine developments throughout its nine-state market area, and President John McCarthy Jr. is doing everything he can to encourage and enable employees to get their shots.
McCarthy says the company’s human resources department, along with upper management, are “disseminating up-to-date information from each state’s department of health, so if an employee has a question we’re able to provide assistance for that particular state.”
And employees have a lot of questions, chief among them, “Am I eligible?”
Since every state has its own criteria, McCarthy says the company is trying to keep track of who is eligible for a vaccine in every state where the tire dealership operates. The company is maintaining lists of the phone numbers and websites employees can use to register for a vaccination appointment. In some places, they can point workers to sites that show where vaccines are currently available.
And in some cases, the tire dealership has dialed the phone and helped employees navigate the automated systems.
“Some people you need to coax. Some people want to do it, but they just need help getting it done,” McCarthy says. “Between our management teams and our HR department, we’re giving them all the help they need.”
He acknowledges there’s a fine line to walk between encouraging employees to get the vaccine and requiring them to do so.
“We are absolutely encouraging people to get it, but we are not mandating it,” McCarthy says. “We had a lot of discussions about that, but with how difficult the workforce situation is and trying to get people to fill positions, we just thought we would lose some people … because there are some people that are adamant they don’t want it.
“We’re trying to educate them and do everything we can to let them know it’s the right thing to do.”
In January, the company highlighted one of its longtime team members on social media after he received his first dose. Bill Rollman is 58 and both he and his wife have underlying health issues. They made appointments to get their vaccines and then got bumped up on the schedule when they agreed to fill in for a couple of cancelations.
Rollman, an alignment technician who will celebrate 35 years of employment at McCarthy Tire Service in June, admits he was “a little nervous about getting the vaccine. But I’m more worried about COVID. I've seen what it can do to people. If we have some side effects from (the vaccine), that's still a lot better than getting the virus."
McCarthy Tire Service team members can schedule their vaccination appointments during the work day without having to take time off. “We figured it would take them an hour,” and given the efficiency of vaccination sites, McCarthy says that estimate has been right on target.
Company-wide, 116 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and one man, a road service technician, died from the virus in the early days of the pandemic.
When accounting for all the employees who have been affected — including those tested or quarantined after being in close contact with someone else who tested positive for the virus — McCarthy says about half of the company’s 1,200-person workforce has been affected. McCarthy himself quarantined twice after being in contact with someone else who tested positive.
The length of that quarantine has decreased as the Centers for Disease Control has updated its guidelines, but no matter what McCarthy Tire Service requires, employees test negative before they return to work. And results from rapid tests don’t qualify.
A company-wide email from McCarthy’s sister, Katie Lambert, the company's chief financial officer, encouraged all “teammates that are qualified to get the vaccine.
“This virus has wreaked havoc on our economy, our work environment and most importantly, our fellow teammates, our most valuable asset. Many have lost friends and family members and many have been stricken themselves. This vaccine can be seen as a sign of hope.”
That’s the word that McCarthy comes back to. “Hope.
“We need the vaccine so we can move forward to some sense of normalcy sooner than later,” he says.