Big business groups push back against federal vaccine mandate

With the Biden administration having decided to go ahead with vaccine mandates for businesses with over 100 employees, some business groups are voicing their concerns, CNBC reported Nov. 5. 

Leaders across industries expressed their concerns on the mandate, arguing for personal choice and warning of disruptions going into the busy holiday season.

The vaccine mandate requires workers at affected companies to have received a COVID-19 vaccination by Jan. 4 or face regular testing. To enforce the mandates, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct workplace compliance inspections, with potential fines ranging from $13,653 to up to $136,532 in cases of violation. OSHA will help businesses come up with implementation strategies by providing sample plans, fact sheets and other forms of outreach. 

Industry leaders met with the White House last month to voice their criticisms of the mandate and asked for an extension on the deadline in light of the holiday season. The deadline for implementation remains early January, and business groups are still claiming that leaves them insufficient time to plan. 

The Retail Industry Leaders Association said the fines were "unnecessary and unhelpful" and the implementation period was not long enough. The National Federation of Independent Business said OSHA's mandate makes operations for small businesses "even more difficult and troublesome." They also advocated for freedom for small business leaders to decide how to run their organizations. The National Association of Manufacturers also said it will review the ruling to ensure the mandate doesn't impose "undue cost burdens."

However, the U.S Chamber of Commerce thanked OSHA for its flexibility and making "significant adjustments" after listening to concerns. Labor unions also pushed for expanding the vaccine mandate to include more worker protections. One union leader said that while he thought the mandate didn't go far enough, it represented "a critical first step to keep workers safe on the job."

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