On Thursday, the Biden administration announced new vaccination requirements that will apply for nearly one-third of Americans and over half of those in the workforce in the United States. A mandate will come into effect in the coming weeks once the rule is created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
President Joe Biden said, “My job as president is to protect all Americans. So tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”
Almost immediately, a response to the vaccine mandate was issued by the Republican National Committee’s chairwoman Ronna McDaniel who called them “unconstitutional actions” and “authoritarian decrees”. While being pro-vaccine, she disagrees with a mandate forcing it on Americans and called out Biden for lying while campaigning about not imposing one.
In his speech, Biden mentioned that the way has been paved for everyone to receive the vaccine with little room for excuses. He said, “What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing.”
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Auto industry employers and workers will be affected
Federal employees will be required to get vaccinated, full stop. There is no option to obtain a negative test in its stead, and any contractors doing business with the federal government must be fully vaccinated as well.
Since all companies that employ 100 or more people are required to enforce the vaccine mandate, a vast majority of those working in the automotive industry will be affected. Every assembly plant in the United States will be required to hold its staff accountable for being fully vaccinated, or they’ll have to enforce negative testing at least once per week.
At least 45 automotive assembly plants are included in the mandate, not to mention the factories and workers in the supply chain stateside.
But the mandate goes beyond just manufacturing as it is intended to be implemented to all employers with at least 100 workers. Under that structure, countless large dealerships, as well as corporate offices for dealer groups, will fall under the emergency rule. With as many as one in four adults without even their first shot, the effect on the auto retail workforce could be felt severely.
For workers unwilling to be vaccinated and be tested once per week, there could very well be forced terminations or indefinite suspensions required, putting employers in an extremely tough position. Already there is a shortage of skilled labor at dealerships, especially for technicians and service advisors. Noncompliant staff in these roles could add to the backlog in service departments, affecting customer satisfaction and loyalty, not to mention profitability for the store.
Few exceptions will be permitted
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “disability and religious exceptions” would be provided on a limited basis, but otherwise will be few and far between.
Employers who do not implement the rule can be fined up to $14,000 per violation according to the report.
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