The nation’s largest industry trade groups are calling the US Supreme Court’s decision to block US President Joe Biden’s vaccine or testing requirement for businesses a victory for employers.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court froze a lower court opinion that allowed the mandate to go into effect nationwide. The Biden administration’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard directed businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccines or mandatory weekly testing for employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which protects workplace safety. The mandate would affect 80 million workers.
“While NRF [National Retail Federation] has maintained a strong and consistent position related to the importance of vaccines in helping to overcome this pandemic, the Supreme Court’s decision to stay OSHA’s onerous and unprecedented Emergency Temporary Standard is a significant victory for employers,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations with the National Retail Federation.
The NRF joined with than 26 other trade associations this week and presented oral arguments before the court. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer supporting 52 million Americans. The Associated Builders and Contractors and American Trucking Associations were two of the groups that filed emergency appeals to the Supreme Court.
“Trucking has been on the front lines throughout the pandemic – delivering PPE, medical supplies, food, clothing, fuel, and even the vaccines themselves. Thanks to this ruling, our industry will continue to deliver critical goods, as our nation recovers from the pandemic and we move our economy forward,” said Chris Spear, CEO of American Trucking Associations.
“This is a big win in removing compliance hurdles for the construction industry, which is facing multiple economic challenges, including a workforce shortage of 430,000, rising materials prices and supply chain issues. ABC continues to support vaccinations and encourages members to use its COVID-19 vaccination toolkit to keep workers safe on construction jobsites,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs.
The National Federation of Independent Business, which filed a petition with the Supreme Court, argued there should have been a notice and comment period prior to instituting the mandate. The group also said that a nationwide testing and vaccine mandate should be left to Congress, and that the mandate will further exacerbate challenges for small businesses.
“As small businesses try to recover after almost two years of significant business disruptions, the last thing they need is a mandate that would cause more business challenges. We are pleased the Supreme Court stopped the rule from taking effect while the courts consider whether or not it is legal,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center.
The National Retail Federation is calling on President Biden to back down after today’s ruling.
“NRF urges the Biden Administration to discard this unlawful mandate and instead work with employers, employees and public health experts on practical ways to increase vaccination rates and mitigate the spread of the virus in 2022,” said French.
Joshua Bolten, CEO of the Business Roundtable — an influential lobbying group comprised of top US executives — said the organization respected the court’s judgment.
“Before the mandate was announced, many of our companies led their own vaccination efforts,” he said. “While companies may take different approaches based on their unique circumstances and diverse workforces, employee and customer safety remain paramount, and efforts to promote vaccination will not abate.”