Biden to visit Illinois to promote private sector vaccine mandate

Biden to visit Illinois to promote private sector vaccine mandate

CHICAGO, IL — President Joe Biden will be in Chicago on Wednesday to promote his order for all businesses with more than 100 employees to require the COVID-19 vaccine for their workers.

Business groups are wary about the mandate, which is expected to impact 80 million jobs nationwide.

Biden announced the mandate earlier this month. He’ll visit Chicago on Wednesday to talk more about it.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said while some elements of the business community welcome the mandate so they can get compliance from employees, other businesses want the government out of such decisions.

“We don’t think the one-size-fits-all is the right approach, so we are opposed to what seems to be coming down the pike here,” Maisch told WMAY earlier this month.

National Federation of Independent Business Illinois State Director Mark Grant said the emergency temporary standards, or ETS, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will come with a cost and add to ongoing burdens on business in the era of COVID-19.

“[Mandating] COVID-19 vaccinations or frequent testing by businesses with 100 or more employees, mandating that such businesses compensate employees during certain periods in which the employee is not working,” Grant said, “the businesses that could be subject to the costly and burdensome ETS includes many small businesses.”

It’s unclear when the emergency temporary standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be released, but it could be within weeks.

“OSHA rulemaking for new standards has historically been a relatively time-consuming process,” said a report from the Congressional Research Service. But “OSHA may promulgate an ETS without supplying any notice or opportunity for public comment or public hearings.”

Once it’s published in the Federal Register, it takes effect.

Maisch said not knowing all the specifics is also part of the problem.

“And that’s one of the frustrations, I think,” Maisch said. “Even those who support the president’s decision, or those who are opposed, are equally concerned that we don’t even know what this is yet.”

That Congressional Research Service report also highlights several OSHA ETS that have been struck down in the past.

“OSHA has used its ETS authority sparingly in its history and not since the asbestos ETS promulgated in 1983,” the report said, noting the rare use of ETS happened earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the health care industry. “In the nine times OSHA has issued an ETS, the courts have fully vacated or stayed the ETS in four cases and partially vacated the ETS in one case”

There are already lawsuits planned by states and other organizations to challenge the standard when the ETS is published in the Federal Register and in effect.

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