A group of trade associations that represent the trucking, retail and other industries, sued the Biden administration this week in an effort to overturn the federal vaccine mandate, saying that the order would “inflict irreparable harm.”
The groups — which include the National Retail Federation, the National Federation of Independent Business and the American Trucking Associations — filed the suit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
“This is not a case about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, which are a marvel of modern medicine. … This is a case about American businesses that do not want to face the immediate irreparable harm of losing employees, incurring substantial and unrecoverable compliance costs, and worsening already fragile supply chains and labor markets,” the groups wrote in a court filing.
The OSHA rule will require businesses with 100 or more employees to require all their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested on a weekly basis starting Jan. 4.
The deadline for the vaccine mandate was initially slated to be next month, but OSHA pushed back the implementation of the rule until after the holidays in light of the supply chain crunch that threatens to leave store shelves empty during the busy period.
NRF President Matthew Shay said in a statement Tuesday evening that both the December deadline to get proof of vaccination from employees and the January deadline to roll out the testing program “are both unworkable and virtually impossible.”
“We have consistently and repeatedly communicated our concerns about the practical challenges of meeting those arbitrary targets,” he said. “However, it appears that our only remaining course of action is to petition for judicial relief.”
The National Federation of Independent Business called the mandates a “clear example of administrative overreach.”
The White House has defended the rule, saying that the requirements will ultimately help ease the labor shortage by keeping workers healthy and that the mandate falls within OSHA’s emergency rule-making authority.
Other groups that are listed as petitioners in the suit include the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, the International Warehouse and Logistics Association, the International Foodservices Distributors Association and National Association of Convenience Stores.
The state trucking associations in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana also signed on.
The latest lawsuit aside, the Biden administration faces a slew of legal challenges to its sweeping vaccine mandate. The Republican National Committee and the Republican attorneys general in at least 26 states have so far sued to block the rule.
After a federal appeals court in Louisiana last week blocked the mandate, the White House is now left urging companies to voluntarily comply.