US Vaccine-Testing Mandate for Large Firms Passes Hurdle

The Biden Administration’s plan to require vaccines or weekly Covid-19 tests at U.S. businesses with more than 100 employees could move forward after a new court ruling.

The Sixth Circuit court has sided with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this week in a split decision, lifting the stay on the policy.

The American Trucking Associations says it is disappointed with the ruling and will take thge vaccine-or-test mandate to the U.S. Supreme Court. ATA appealed to the high court for a stay on the mandate immediately after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay.

“It’s evident that OSHA overstepped its statutory authority with this Emergency Temporary Standard, so make no mistake: ATA will not stop fighting this misguided policy until our members and industry are fully relieved from its harmful impact on our ability to keep America’s supply chain moving,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear in a news release.

“That includes the movement of food, fuel, medical supplies, test kits, and the vaccine itself. Our workforce has served on the frontlines of this pandemic since Day One, safely delivering on behalf of the American people. This mandate threatens to further disrupt our industry and its essential role in the nation’s COVID response efforts, and we will fight it until it’s defeated through any and all means necessary.”

In Canada, Ottawa has also announced plans for a domestic vaccine mandate for federally regulated workers, including truck drivers. The Canadian Trucking Alliance is also arguing the mandate would put an even bigger strain on an already beleaguered supply chain and economy and is asking the government to reconsider the plan.

Last month, ATA said it believes the rule includes an exclusion for “employees who work exclusively outdoors.” The American Trucking Associations (ATA) believes that exclusion extends to truck drivers. “All indications thus far … suggest this exemption does apply to the commercial truck driver population,” the ATA said in a statement at the time.

“Drivers spend the vast majority of their workday alone in the cab and outside. “The rule … exempts employees who exclusively work outdoors or remotely and have minimal contact with others indoors, and all indications thus far from the Department of Labor suggest this exemption does apply to the commercial truck driver population.”

The group has been seeking further clarity and confirmation.

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