Businesses are “pleading” with the Biden administration to delay a plan to mandate businesses with 100 or more employees require vaccines or weekly testing over concerns that, if the rule goes into force before the holiday season, businesses could see a “mass exodus” of workers when many need them most, per CNBC.
Labor unions are already voicing concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which was announced in September. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is in charge of drafting and distributing the mandate under the guise of “emergency powers” awarded to the agency at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has yet to follow up on Biden’s announcement, though a draft is expected at any time.
Businesses, already worried about how supply chain issues will affect the holiday season, are now “pleading” with the White House to delay the OSHA rule until at least January so that they can avoid a “mass exodus” of unvaccinated workers, particularly in the retail and shipping industries.
“Worried that President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate for private companies could cause a mass exodus of employees, business groups are pleading with the White House to delay the rule until after the holiday season,” CNBC reported Monday.
“White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget held dozens of meetings with labor unions, industry lobbyists and private individuals last week as the administration conducts its final review of the mandate, which will require businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure they are vaccinated against Covid or tested weekly for the virus,” the outlet continued. “It is estimated to cover roughly two-thirds of the private-sector workforce.”
“It has been a hectic holiday season already, as you know, with supply chain struggles,” one lobbyist representing retailers told the outlet. “This is a difficult policy to implement. It would be even more difficult during the holiday season.”
Barring a decision to delay the mandate, retailers and other groups are asking the administration to allow for at least a 90-day window to come into compliance before OSHA begins enforcing the rule, which, if the rule were dropped this week, could take enforcement well into January.
According to a study cited by Forbes, approximately “44% of workers said that they would consider leaving their jobs if they were forced to get their shots.” Americans on both sides of the debate, though, have strong feelings, and, according to Forbes’ cited study, “38% of workers would consider leaving their current employer if the organization did not enact a vaccine mandate.”
The study, though, asked specifically about employer mandates — not federal mandates.
One of the driving factors in the COVID-19 mandate delay does seem to be union participation — a hurdle cited by CNBC. Unions representing municipal employees, postal workers, and teachers have all spoken out against a mandate over concerns that requiring union workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine without a contractual agreement could render their negotiated contracts null and void.