Cleveland-Cliffs CEO says offering a bonus to get Covid vaccine helped increase worker uptake

  • Cleveland-Cliffs' decision to offer workers a bonus to get the Covid vaccine has paid off, according to CEO Lourenco Goncalves.
  • The steel maker now has 75% of its employees vaccinated, up from 35% when the incentive program was started.
  • "We are very pleased that we don't have a problem with Covid in our plants anymore," Goncalves said on "Mad Money."

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Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves told CNBC on Wednesday the steel maker's decision to offer workers a bonus to get the Covid-19 vaccine has paid off.

In an interview on "Mad Money" with Jim Cramer, Goncalves said 75% of the company's employees are now vaccinated. At crucial plants such as Indiana Harbor and a new facility in Toledo, Ohio, the rate is even higher, at 78% and 81%, respectively, he said.

Cleveland-Cliffs announced its intention to give a $1,500 bonus to workers who received the Covid vaccine in July. At that time, 35% of the company's employees were vaccinated, according to a release.

"All the locations that got above 75% vaccination rate, instead of the $1,500, we paid $3,000, so we doubled" the incentive, Goncalves said. "We've got 31 of our 46 locations above 75%," he added.

Cleveland-Cliffs' vaccination bonus is one example of the ways corporate America has tried to combat vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. Other companies, such as United Airlines, mandated Covid shots for its staff.

Overall, roughly 73% of vaccine-eligible Americans — individuals ages 12 and up — have received at least one Covid vaccine dose while 62.4% are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Goncalves sought to paint the decision to get vaccinated as one of workplace safety, saying "there are a lot of things that don't belong when you're dealing with … a serious health scare issue like Covid."

"I think we resolved that, and we are very pleased that we don't have a problem with Covid in our plants anymore," he said.

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