The Biden administration is implementing a vaccine mandate or weekly testing for businesses with at least 100 employees starting January 4, 2022. With the trucking industry and Republican lawmakers warning that the vaccine and testing mandates could further hamper the delivery of goods. The Biden administration excluded single cab truck drivers from this mandate, pushing to further correct the disrupted supply chain. The new mandate is called “emergency temporary standard” and will be implemented by the Labor Department’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Truck drivers alone in their cabs are exempt from this mandate, but truck drivers who work in teams or interact with others at pick-up or drop-off locations wouldn’t be exempt from the mandate. “Drivers spend the vast majority of their workday alone in the cab and outside,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association (ATA), said in a statement Friday, “The rule published yesterday exempts employees who exclusively work outdoors or remotely and have minimal contact with others indoors, and all indications thus far from the Department of Labor suggest this exemption does apply to the commercial truck driver population.” This is a huge win for the trucking industry, a survey from ATA member fleets found that 37% of the drivers would quit their jobs and move to another company if this mandate was enforced. Bill Sullivan, ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy said, “Even if only 4% quit, that would be a catastrophe, we agree with the president’s goal. We aren’t anti-vax. We are encouraging employees to be voluntarily vaccinated.”
With the trucking industry already in a bad way, with battling driver shortages and high demand. If this mandate didn’t exclude truck drivers, the CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. Greg Gantt said, “If you think we’ve got supply chain issues now across the country, that could really throw it into some kind of a crazy tailspin.”