Trucking Industry Groups Ready For Battle as Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Near
Washington D.C. – Leading trucking industry groups are preparing to battle the Biden Administration over its vaccine mandates on businesses.
Last month, President Joe Biden issued two sweeping Executive Orders (EO) imposing COVID-19 vaccination requirements on federal contractors and thousands of private businesses covering more than 80 million American workers.
Major trucking groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) initially spoke out against the mandates, warning of “potentially dire consequences” for a supply chain already in crisis.
However, the White House is again ignoring industry stakeholders and moving full speed ahead.
This week, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) submitted the “emergency rule” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
Once the review is completed — which is expected to take a few weeks — it will be published into the Federal Register.
While the details have not yet been disclosed, enforcement of coerced vaccination or weekly testing requirements on businesses with 100 employees or more are expected before the end of the year.
Fines for violations are reportedly expected to range from $14,000 for first time offenders to as much as $700,000 for businesses which display a pattern of willful offenses.
Groups like ATA and TCA are once again taking the Biden Administration to task and sounding the alarm about the “exorbitant impact” the mandates will likely have on capacity.
“TCA remains committed to expressing the viewpoints of our industry on this issue, focusing on the dramatic change it could have on our driving force,” Jim Ward, TCA chairman, said in a new statement on Wednesday.
Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO, this week said the mandates have “obvious problems” asserting it is “a virtual impossibility” to ensure thousands of truckers — who will likely choose to refuse the jab — are tested weekly.
Spear seemed to suggest truckers should be afforded an exemption to the vaccine requirements.
“Truck drivers spend most of their work hours alone in the cab of a truck – literally one of the safest places possible during a pandemic – so why do they need to be regulated in this way?” he questioned.
Additionally, Spear also took issue with the arbitrary employment threshold.
“In trucking, a very small portion of the industry has more than 100 employees,” he commented. “If these mandates are designed to actually better protect all Americans, how are employee lives at a smaller employer less important?”
Last year, many within the trucking business community were reassured they would not be faced with draconian mandates when then President-Elect Biden said of vaccine mandates, “I don’t think it should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory, but I will do everything in my power.”
However, in a stunning reversal, President Biden is now defending “mass firings” of frontline workers due to vaccine mandates.
In a public appearance last week, the President declared the requirements are working as intended as more Americans are being vaccinated.
“When you see headlines and reports of mass firings, and hundreds of people losing their jobs, look at the bigger story,” Mr. Biden urged.
This battle between trucking stakeholders and the White House is only expected to intensify in the coming weeks.