With COVID cases and hospitalization numbers plummeting since summer’s Delta sure, why is the Biden administration still fighting the virus war?
Unbridled Unilateral Power
On Thursday, President Biden directed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to issue a worker vaccine mandate, which will likely do more harm than good, warns the WSJ.
President Biden directed the agencies to issue the mandates in September as his polling numbers flagged. Many large employers have already imposed mandates in anticipation of the OSHA rule, which will come into full force on Jan. 4. Many state and local governments have also mandated vaccines and testing for their workers and health-care facilities.
If workers quit rather than get the vaccine, what is this going to do to the already historically tight labor market?
The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey (last week):
37% of unvaccinated workers said they would leave if their employer required them to get a vaccine or be tested weekly. A quarter of all adults said they knew someone who has left a job because of a vaccine mandate.
OSHA acknowledges “a vaccine mandate may result in increased employee turnover,” though it says “the net effect” will “be relatively small” given the testing option. But even if only 1% to 3% of workers leave because of the mandate, as OSHA projects, employers will struggle to replace them.
As for the rule’s public-health justification, increases in infections among the vaccinated make singling out the unvaccinated less supportable. Weekly testing is also no guarantee of contagion at workplaces since a worker can test negative one day and be positive the next.
OSHA requires employers to:
- Provide paid time off to workers to allow them to receive the vaccine
- Pay sick leave to recover from any side effects
- Ensure that unvaccinated employees wear face masks in the workplace
To date, 18 states, along with several private companies are attempting to fight the mandate. According to Jordan Davidson (The Federalist), a group of Republican senators also are promising to fight the regulation.
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