GRAND RAPIDS – As federal officials continue to consider a COVID-19 mandate for companies with 100 or more employees, a group of Michigan chambers of commerce announced on Monday a coalition opposing such a requirement.
âListen to MI Business,â launched Monday. The coalition is currently made up of seven chambers across the state, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. House officials say they are not opposing the vaccine itself, but instead say that a broad mandate would place a burden on employers in terms of COVID-19 testing and attracting talent.
âThe federal mandate on vaccines is well-intentioned, but unfortunately it creates a whole new level of private sector responsibility that our member companies, on the whole, do not have the experience or resources to meet. this moment, “said Nikki Devitt, president of the Petoskey Region Chamber of Commerce. Devitt and other members of the coalition spoke in a virtual announcement on Monday.
In September, President Joe Biden announced a draft directive to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordering employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or tested for COVID weekly.
OSHA has yet to officially adopt the ordinance, but sent a draft rule to the White House for review on October 12. The Office of Management and Budget will have 90 days to review the rule, with the option of returning it to OSHA for review.
USA Today reported that companies that fail to comply with Biden’s directive face “substantial fines” of up to $ 14,000, with OSHA responsible for enforcing the fines.
Monday’s announcement comes as businesses across the state continue to dealing with a labor shortage. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of available workers in sectors such as the hospitality industry, healthcare and even schools.
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“Expecting companies to have the human resources to run such a detailed program under threat of sanction, with the already limited staff and resources at their disposal, in a time of economic chaos, is simply a boondoggle. to ask for too much, âDevitt added.
Biden’s directive aims to boost immunization coverage in the United States, where about 77% of people 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the United States.
In Michigan, that figure is lower, at around 63%. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has previously said she has no plans to institute statewide vaccination warrants, but a federal ordinance would override state jurisdiction.
If the order is fully approved, it is not clear whether companies will receive federal assistance to test supplies for unvaccinated employees, as the text of the order has yet to be released. Earlier in October, the White House announced plans to double the number of rapid COVID-19 tests available for purchase over the next two months.
Rapids tests produce faster results than PCR tests, which require lab analysis and take days to return results. Nationally, demand for rapid COVID-19 tests has increased These last months.