U.S. Chamber of Commerce says businesses should implement vaccine mandate until it is ‘shut down’

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  • Mark Friedman, the chamber’s vice president of employment policy, told CNBC that businesses should enforce vaccine and testing requirements until a court definitively overturns them.
  • The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted the requirements pending review on November 6.
  • The court confirmed the pause on Friday, asking the Biden administration to halt implementation or enforcement until further notice.

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The US Chamber of Commerce recommended Monday that a federal court order temporarily halt the rules, despite businesses implementing President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing requirements.

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Mark Friedman, the chamber’s vice president of employment policy, said of the emergency temporary standard, “Eventually the courts are going to decide, but employers still need to take it as a live etsy.” “They should not rely on the initial actions of 5.”th circuit,” he told CNBC in a statement.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates workplace safety for the Department of Labor, issued the rules through a rarely used fast-track process.

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit confirmed its decision on Friday to withhold the requirements, asking the Biden administration to refrain from implementation or enforcement until further notice. The appellate court is considered one of the most conservative in the country.

The court-ordered pause, which was originally issued by the three-judge panel on November 6, came in response to lawsuits from Republican attorneys general of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah, as well as several private companies. Was.

Circuit Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, in an opinion released Friday, called Biden’s requirements “fatally flawed” and “shockingly overbroad.” While the court has yet to rule on his constitutionality, Engelhardt clarified that he believes lawsuits seeking to overturn Biden’s policy are likely to succeed.

Engelhardt, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2018, criticized the requirements as a “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer” that hardly makes any effort to make up for differences in workplaces (and workers).

The Biden administration asked the court to lift the pause last week, warning that failure to enforce the requirements could “kill dozens or even hundreds of lives per day” as the Covid spread. The Department of Justice and Labor maintains that OSHA has acted well within its authority established by Congress.”

Industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Association and the National Federation of Independent Business have also sued the Fifth Circuit to overturn the requirements. Industry groups have argued that the busy holiday season will lead to disruption of the mandated workforce and supply chain.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that the new rules would encourage people to return to the workplace by creating a safe environment where they are less likely to contract COVID, which can lead to workers falling ill. to reduce employee issues.

The US Chamber of Commerce has not taken any legal action against the mandate. After the Biden administration published the requirements on November 4, the chamber said it was focused on helping its members vaccinate their staff and communicate any implementation issues to OSHA, which would enforce the requirements.

The chamber last month lobbied White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget to delay vaccine and testing requirements until after the busy holiday season. OSHA has given businesses with 100 or more employees until January 4 to make sure their employees get the shots they need to get vaccinated. After that date, non-vaccinated employees must submit a negative COVID test weekly to enter the workplace. From December 5, non-vaccinated workers should start wearing facemasks indoors at work.

The White House told businesses last week to begin implementing the requirements despite a court order review.

“People shouldn’t wait,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a briefing. “They should continue to go ahead and make sure they are getting their workplace vaccinated.”

The Biden administration is filing a flurry of lawsuits to overturn the requirements. Republican attorney generals in at least 26 states have challenged Biden’s policy in at least five federal appellate courts. The Republican National Committee has also challenged him in the DC Court of Appeals.

As Republicans seek to reverse the mandate, some of the nation’s largest labor unions want the courts to expand them to cover small businesses. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union filed petitions for review last week.

The cases would be consolidated into a single court through random selection in the jurisdictions where the cases were filed. The Justice Department said last week that it expects the random selection to happen as soon as Tuesday.

OSHA issued the requirements under the emergency authority established by Congress. The agency can shorten the process of developing workplace safety and health standards, which typically take years, if the Secretary of Labor determines that a new rule is necessary to protect workers from serious danger.

OSHA emergency workplace safety standards have a mixed track record in the jurisdictions. Before the pandemic, the agency had not exercised its emergency authorization since 1983. Courts have halted or reversed four of the 10 emergency standards issued before vaccine and testing requirements. The fifth emergency standard was partially evacuated.

David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown University, told CNBC last week that there is a “high probability” that the case will end up in the Supreme Court, where there is a conservative majority.

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