Fuel Retailers Warn Vax Mandate Could Force Truck Stops to Close, Limit Diesel Supplies
Alexandria, VA — Fuel retailers are warning President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for private businesses could result in seriously negative consequences for America’s truckers.
The leaders of SIGMA, a trade group representing approximately 250 independent chain retailers and marketers of motor fuel, and NATSO, representing America’s truck stops and travel plazas, are speaking out about the possible impacts of the Occupational Health and Safety’s (OSHA) recently published controversial 490-page emergency temporary standard (ETS).
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.
SIGMA President Richard Guttman weighed in on the ETS asserting it “may exacerbate employee retention challenges and lead to a migration of workers to employers with fewer than 100 employees.”
“Losing additional employees on top of the current labor challenges could force some retailers to close their doors and lead to limited fuel supplies,” he warned.
NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings echoed Guttman’s comments.
“The travel plaza and truckstop industry supports efforts to increase vaccinations in the United States, but a federal vaccine mandate will have a significant negative impact on our industry and its ability to keep truck drivers on the road,” she stated.
Fuel supplies are already tight at a growing number of truck stops.
Last week, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported limited diesel availability at some Travel Centers of America (TA) locations, along with fuel outages at four Pilot/FlyingJ (PFJ) stops in the Columbus, OH, area.
While the outages at PFJ have since been rectified, TA continues to experience diesel supply challenges at numerous locations in the Southwest.
Additionally, a rash of truck stop and travel plaza closures would only worsen the already existing lack of sufficient parking for truckers.
Meanwhile, a coalition of business groups — led by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) — has filed suit against the Biden Administration challenging the COVID-19 employer-based vaccination mandate.
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.
So far, more than two dozen states have also filed legal challenges to OSHA’s ETS.
According to prominent transportation law firm, Scopelitis, the cases are likely to be consolidated and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will “randomly select a federal court of appeals” in which they will be heard.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the issue closely.