ATA Files Lawsuit Challenging Biden’s ‘Devastating’ Vax Mandate
New Orleans, LA — A coalition led by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has filed suit against the Biden Administration challenging its employer-based COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
In a news release sent late Tuesday evening, ATA admitted it has been unable to successfully lobby the White House to exempt the trucking industry from the Occupational Health and Safety Administrations’s (OSHA) controversial 490-page emergency temporary standard (ETS) rule.
“We told the administration that this mandate, given the nature of our industry and makeup of our workforce, could have devastating impacts on the supply chain and the economy and they have, unfortunately, chosen to move forward despite those warnings,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “So we are now, regrettably, forced to seek to have this mandate overturned in court.”
The ETS forces employers with 100 employees or more to require employees to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or ensure all unvaccinated employees wear a facial covering and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test each week.
ATA jubilantly announced late last week it had received assurances from the U.S. Department of Labor that solo truckers would be exempted from the ETS.
While that is currently believed to still be the case, other segments of the trucking industry such as team truckers, dock workers, and support staff will not be exempted.
Spear asserts the Biden Administration has “overstepped its statutory authority” in issuing the ETS as it “puts employers in an untenable position of forcing workers to choose between working and their private medical decisions which is something that cannot be allowed.”
ATA along with the Louisiana Motor Truck Association, the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Texas Trucking Association filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Last weekend, the Fifth Circuit, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” issued an emergency stay putting a temporary halt on the ETS.
The order came in response to a suit brought by Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah, as well as dozens more petitioners.
“A stay pending full review is essential to ensure our members can continue to keep the supply chain moving without the enormous disruptions this unlawful ETS will cause the trucking industry and our nation’s consumers – including the 80% percent of American communities that depend exclusively on trucks for their needs,” commented Nicholas Geale, ATA vice president of workforce policy.
ATA and its state partners were also joined in the suit by the Food Marketing Institute, the International Warehouse Logistics Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the National Federation of Independent Business.
What Happens Next?
Prominent transportation law firm, Scopelitis, is advising clients of what is likely to happen next.
“There are multiple challenges in other federal courts of appeals in which the challengers have sought a temporary injunction,” an email alert said. “Shortly, it is expected that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will randomly select a federal court of appeals in which to consolidate the cases.”
As for the Biden Administration, it is continuing to urge business leaders to impose OSHA’S ETS on their workforces despite the Court’s emergency order.
“People should not wait,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded on Monday. “They should continue to move forward and make sure they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”