US Carriers Warn: End of Contracts Over Vaccine Mandate

Trucking companies that provide services for government agencies in the aerospace, distribution, defense are warning the Biden administration they will not be able to meet the vaccine deadline, reports Politico.

In an interview with Politico, American Trucking Associations’ executive vice president for advocacy Bill Sullivan said that some trucking companies may simply decide that the cost of the mandate is not worth doing business with the government.

He said that if companies drop their contracts, it may be harder to get certain foods to troops, transport fuel for military vehicles, or even deploy the National Guard.

“I am confident but with heavy heart recognize a vaccine mandate will mean less capacity for the government as a customer of freight,” he said. “It has the potential to seriously impact military readiness.” His association has also warned that it could also delay deliveries to consumers during the holiday season. “I feel like the president has tried to be beautifully simple like this could apply to everybody, and by doing that, there will be an impact.”

Companies with 100 or more employees will be required to comply with President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate by no later than Jan. 4, 2022, according to the Emergency Temporary Standard that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expected to publish in the Federal Register Friday, Nov. 5.

Interviews with more than a dozen industry advocates across the aerospace, distribution, defense and trucking sectors — some of whom have also been in discussions with administration officials — reveal they either have little confidence they will be able to meet the Dec. 8 deadline for their workers to receive their first vaccine shot or expressed concerns about difficulties the mandate would pose on their labor force.

Both the trucking industry and airline cargo industry have directly asked the Biden administration to postpone its deadline or make an exemption for their employees.

Among the requests from federal contractors: an extension of the deadline into 2022, considering allowing a test-out option for federal contractor employees, and eliminating the requirements altogether.

“It’s just going to become extremely challenging if they don’t bend,” an official with a major distribution company said of the White House.

Full Politico story here.

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