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Thomas Gallatin / October 12, 2021

Biden’s OSHA Vaccine Mandate

Biden’s commitment to issue an OSHA corporate vaccine mandate will have significant consequences.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” declared Joe Biden on September 9, when he announced, contrary to his prior assurance, “I don’t think it should be mandatory,” that he would be issuing a COVID vaccine mandate for all federal employees and those of companies with more than 100 people. An agitated Biden asserted, “Your refusal has cost all of us.”

The announcement both further politicized an already deeply divisive issue and needlessly threatened employment for hundreds of thousands of Americans in an economy that is continuing to struggle to recover from the worst pandemic in generations.

Despite the consequences, according to a Department of Labor spokesperson, OSHA is moving forward with the vaxxing mandate: “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing to protect employees from the spread of coronavirus in the workplace, On Tuesday, October 12, as part of the regulatory review process, the agency submitted the initial text of the emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget.”

What was Biden’s strategy for delaying the OSHA mandate after his public announcement?

For one thing, it gave companies cover for requiring their employees get vaccinated or lose their job. By pointing to Biden’s declared OSHA mandate, companies can insist the responsibility is out of their hands. On the other hand for Biden, not actually issuing a vaccine mandate immediately provided temporary cover for political damage for an increasingly unpopular president.

However, the resistance to corporate mandates is already emerging in ways that significantly impact the country, including the Southwest Airlines employee protest this past weekend that caused the cancellation of thousands of flights. While the media is dutifully reporting that the flight disruptions were because of weather and how Southwest routes flights, which was a major contributing factor, in our conversations with senior pilots, resistance to Biden’s executive order mandating vaccines for all employees of government contractors, including airlines, was also a major factor.

Southwest’s CEO said: “I’m not in favor of that, never have been. But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees, and then all federal contractors, which covers all the major airlines, have to have a mandate.”

Disruptions from the Biden/Fauci vaxxing mandates will metastasize in the coming weeks as mandate deadlines hit, and could manifest in such actions as Teamster trucking slowdowns, which are already choking strained supply lines.

And there will be many social consequences, given emerging mandate resistance from law enforcement officers in increasingly violent urban centers like Chicago and Portland, where as many as 40% of officers are refusing the vaccine, many of whom because they have already recovered from COVID.

Of course, there’s also the immediate constitutional challenge. Republican state attorneys generals have lined up waiting to take Biden to court over his massive constitutional overreach, but there’s one problem — that overreach has not actually happened yet. They can’t sue Biden over an executive order that doesn’t exist.

In this way, companies are given cover to enact their own vaccine mandates, something many of them have desired over liability fears, based upon the expectation that a mandate from OSHA is imminent. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Americans are being forced to chose between getting the COVID vaccine or losing their jobs, and all due to an announcement that Biden has yet to act upon. So much for all that talk about his patience wearing thin.

Well, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to call Biden’s bluff. On Monday, Abbott issued an executive order banning “any entity” from issuing COVID vaccine mandates in the Lone Star State. Abbott made clear that he is not opposed to the COVID vaccines but is acting to preserve Texans’ individual liberty to make the decision for themselves. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott declared. At least in Texas, employers can’t hide behind Biden’s yet-to-materialize COVID vaccine mandate.

(Updated.)


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