Largest Trucking Group Blasts President Biden’s ‘Discriminatory’ Vaccine Mandates
Washington D.C. – Trucking’s largest group is now voicing concern after President Joe Biden issued sweeping new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for private businesses last week.
Speaking from the White House on Thursday afternoon, President Biden announced Executive Orders (EOs) and regulatory measures to force businesses — employing 100 people or more — to require its workers to take the COVID-19 vaccine or test negative weekly.
Additionally, motor carriers of any size with contracts to haul federal government freight must also require its employees to be fully vaccinated with no weekly testing opt out permitted.
While most trucking groups have remained silent in the last few months as one major corporation after another mandated its workers be vaccinated or face termination, Mr. Biden’s new EOs finally sparked a response from trucking’s largest and most influential lobbyist.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is now blasting the new mandates as “discriminatory.”
In a statement, Chris Spear, ATA’s president and CEO, argued the EOs are unfair to larger employers.
“If these mandates are designed to protect Americans, then why the discriminatory 100-employee threshold, picking winners and losers for both employees and employers?” he questioned.
To Spears’s point, a CEO of an ATA-member motor carrier covered by the mandate told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) that President Biden is essentially asking large companies to become the “covid police” and thus incur the costs associated with tracking employees’ vaccine status and/or weekly testing.
During a press briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki specifically addressed these concerns.
“It’s certainly more cost-effective to require vaccines,” Psaki stated. “Most of these businesses can absolutely afford it and what we are talking about here is saving peoples lives and protecting them.”
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Spear also warned such measures will “threaten to cause further disruptions throughout the supply chain” as drivers who are hesitant to take the vaccine could exit the industry.
There is also concern among some stakeholders that carriers not subject to the mandates could use this as an opportunity to recruit vaccine hesitant drivers away from larger companies.
Multiple trusted legal sources told TNN that larger carriers could have standing to file suit against the federal government since the mandates “arbitrarily” impose different workforce and hiring standards than those on smaller companies.
ATA hinted it might also file a lawsuit on behalf of its members.
“ATA has a deep bench when it comes to federal labor law,” the group said in a statement. “We’re not afraid of bullies. Rest assured, this association will choose a path that protects our industry and those we serve.”
This issue is not going away any time soon.