Supreme Court Blocks OSHA’s Workplace Vaccine Mandates

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The superior court also doubted that the plan would have worked during numerous hearings, citing that 27 states had already issued a formal opposition to OSHA’s plan to begin mandatory vaccination requirements for businesses. Their claim was that the proposed rules were unconstitutional and far exceeded the authority of the organization.

“The Biden administration’s OSHA rule was a long time coming and we have been preparing for months in advance,” declared Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy in November 2021. “President Biden’s attempt to impose mandates on the nation is unconstitutional: it is an attack on the freedom of the individual and a threat against freedom. My administration previously issued an Administrative Order representing my commitment to Alaskans against President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Alaskans can rest assured that I will take all possible steps to defend them and their rights. I am not anti-vaccines; I am against the mandate and will face federal overreach. “

While support for OSHA’s proposed rules remained strong among businesses through 2021, numerous organizations that would have been subject to the rules also began to back down during the fall, including automakers.

Domestic manufacturers – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis – had indicated that they would likely meet vaccine mandates by January 2022, coinciding with the Biden administration’s preferred schedule. Some had also started requiring salaried workers to report their vaccination status, while others started setting up vaccination points at the workplace.

However, organized opposition to the mandates increased throughout 2021 and none of the Big Three was willing to commit to anything before November. Ditto for the UAW, which encouraged members to get vaccinated while officially opposing any government-backed initiative that forced the problem. What most domestic automakers would say is that they collectively supported the UAW’s request that all unionized workers voluntarily submit their vaccination status to employers and likely continue to require the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. face masks. ). But the industry remained silent on the matter until December 2021, perhaps waiting to see how things played out with the Supreme Court.

Now they have their answer. The justices decided to oppose the Biden Administration’s plan to give OSHA more authority, and three members of the court’s left wing (Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) disagreed.

Although the Supreme Court narrowly allowed (5-4) a requirement would require healthcare workers at facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to be vaccinated, pending further procedures. This time it was the right-wing members of the court – Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett – who disagreed.

The automakers and the UAW are expected to issue a joint statement on the Vaccine-related Supreme Court decision in the coming days.

[Image: General Motors]

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