President Biden To Use OSHA To Enforce Mandatory Vaccinations For Companies

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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62 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    That last bit about paid time off is pretty key.Report

  2. North
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    says:

    Hmmm it’s a bold move. I can’t make up my mind as to how it’ll play. On one hand right wing anti-vaxxers will be livid, on the other hand Biden wasn’t going to get their votes anyhow. What about the middle though. Also vaccine rates are a lot lower in some minority communities and I don’t know how pleased they’ll be either.

    Probably, though, he’s thinking that if this cranks vaccine rates up notably then it’ll whop Delta in the balls, which’ll help spur the economy and will thus make the order vanish in the rear view mirror come election season.

    Still feels bold to me.Report

    • Jesse in reply to North
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      says:

      Polling in swing states shows it as 65-35

      https://twitter.com/steveschale/status/1436060909470879749Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Jesse
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        says:

        I have a feeling there’s a “silent majority” here that’s getting sick of the ongoing hissy fit the extremely loud minority is having and Biden’s really just telling them “Me too- I’m sick of this crap.” So, maybe it’s worth risking the legal challenges that will definitely come to signal that.Report

        • InMD in reply to Rufus F.
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          says:

          I think that contingent exists. I’m certainly sick of it and sick of making excuses for these people.

          The question though is who it impacts and how they react. We and the media think of the hold-outs as being the rural, uneducated Trump supporter. They absolutely exist and are a y-uge part of this but they aren’t the whole picture. A significant portion also includes black men in the low skill sectors where this is going to fall hardest. Will they thank Biden for it? Hard to say but it seems like the kind of little, but maybe critical, thing that has been lost in the polling over the last few years.Report

  3. Pinky
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    says:

    A few months back I made the case that one of Trump’s most important accomplishments was approaching the covid crisis from a federalist framework. I don’t recall who replied and said that that approach was inevitable given the nature of the problem. Today I’m doing a little “told you so” dance.

    I hope everyone makes note of how much power we’ve permitted the federal government to aggregate.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      Is federalism where the central government hijacks equipment from the states and sends it overseas?Report

    • InMD in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      He would deserve some credit if he hadn’t promptly played the states off each other and stuffed the issue into the jaws of negative partisanship.

      The irony is that if the jab had full-throated support across party lines we could probably have dispensed with masks and all social distancing measures everywhere outside of hospitals and nursing homes by now.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      yeah well you were wrong then and you are wrong now. Individual states – particularly the red ones – have proven that significant hospitalizations and death are not something they want to avoid, no matter the impacts – including economic – to their own citizens. State government don’t have a right to inflict that sort of death and destruction. Had trump used even 1/4th of the power vested in his office on this many more people would be alive, working and risk free.Report

  4. Jaybird
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    says:

    At the beginning of June, I was a huge supporter of vaccine lotteries and giving people gift cards and all kinds of carrots and I argued against using the stick.

    At this point, I am less inclined to argue against the stick.

    We need to mandate the shot and mandate time off to get it and recover from it. I got my shot at around noonish on a Saturday and my Sunday normally sucked… but Monday was fine. Let’s assume I wasn’t. I’d have taken Monday off.

    We should at least mandate three days off for getting the shot. One day to get it, two days to recover.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      So basically you agree with Joe on this one?Report

      • InMD in reply to North
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        says:

        I’m quite curious about whether it holds up in court but I assume we will be finding out soon enough.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North
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        says:

        If Joe puts the mandate on employers giving employees *PAID* time off to get it (and recover from it), then you bet I agree with him!

        If he’s just saying “you can fire your employees if they don’t get the shot”, I can’t help but see this as a bad law.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Now I do have a handful of opinions about the FDA and I do think that it’s kinda effed up to mandate a vaccine that has not been FDA approved but, hurray, Pfizer has been and Moderna is gonna be.

          I would prefer for this to not go into effect until both an mRNA vaccine and a traditional vaccine has been approved.

          And then, after both kinds of shots have been approved by the FDA, hurray. We can then start telling employers that they can fire employees for not getting the shot *IF* the employers have offered 3 days off to get/recover from whichever shot they get.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            At this point, I would have preferred he put his pressure on the FDA to get the other two approved.

            One thing he does that I think will save this ruling is that he doesn’t mandate the shot. He gives a choice; get the shot, or get tested regularly. You don’t have to get the shot, as long as you are OK putting a swap up your nose once a week.Report

        • Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          According to every article, employers are required to give PTO to get the vaccine.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Jesse
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            says:

            From what I have seen, it’s always phrased something like this:

            The rule would also require that large companies provide paid time off for vaccination.

            Which has me notice the weasel word in there.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I mean, from everything I’ve seen, employers have been taking the bloody-minded position that they already give you paid time off that you can use as you please, and if some of that happens to be “recovering from the effects of voluntary medical treatment” then that’s your own choice and not their responsibility to subsidize, particularly in these unprecedented times when we all need to pull together and do our best to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t defeat us.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      If you have a regular two-day break from work, you really only need a short break to go get vaccinated on the day before. Side effects don’t hit for several hours, and then you have two and a half days to recover.Report

      • Jesse in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        Oh noes, productivity might drop by 0.00000005 percent because some people might get vaccinations during work and have shitty responses to it!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        While I appreciate that that is true for people with something in the neighborhood of a banker’s hours job, I also appreciate that not everybody does. Some people, for example, have two jobs. Others have jobs where they do not have two days off in a row. Others still have a kind of life where the weekend is a treasured mini-vacation in the middle of the week… to be spent with loved ones, perhaps.

        While I remain a huge fan of making that GDP as friggin’ big as we possibly can, I think that part of that is letting people get vaccinated while, at the same time, making the employer eat the days they’re getting the vaccine instead of making the employee eat them.Report

        • InMD in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Jaybird, you should just be grateful for a paycheck at all. The idea that these great captains of industry should make any compromises whatsoever for the weakness of their workers’ flesh is absurd and risible. All these crybabies ought to be walled in to the next Wal-Mart super center expansion. Then we’ll see how they feel about a day off.Report

  5. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Does the mandovax apply to members of Congress/the Senate?Report

  6. Jesse
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    says:

    Chad Biden strikes again.

    Pulling out of Afghanistan with the will of the majority against the military-industrial complex and standing up for the vast majority of American’s who want to beat this virus, not whine about their rights to infect other people.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      If you want to see how the swing states feel about it, behold:

      It seems to be a good move.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’ve said here for a good many years now that Democrats suffer from a perception that they aren’t “fighters.” Meaning they don’t take firm principled stands and stick to them. This polling is a reflection that when Democrats do take firm principled stands, and stick to them, people generally approve, especially when those stands benefit a majority of people.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’ll take those numbers any day of the week and twice on Saturday.Report

  7. Saul Degraw
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    says:

    LAUSD mandates vaccinations for all students over 12: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/us/la-vaccine-mandate-students-schools.htmlReport

  8. Brandon Berg
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    says:

    I want people to get vaccinated, but this is a pretty brazen power grab, demonstrating once again Biden’s utter contempt for his oath of office. This isn’t something Congress is authorized to do, much less the President.

    That aside, why only employers with at least 100 employees? I get that for some regulations it makes sense to limit it to employers who have the resources to comply, but this doesn’t really seem like one of those cases.Report

    • Jesse in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      If I remember reading right, OSHA has more power over larger businesses.

      As for the rest, even if II agreed with your view of the jurisprudence, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

      The more people say, “the Constitution says means people who don’t want to get the vaccine can do whatever they want without consequences, as long as they live in a state run by Republicans,” you’ll get more and more people who will say, “fine, fuck the Constitution. I want my normal life back, and the unvaccinated are the ones stopping it.”

      I think it’s a good thing, as Presidents have done before, the Biden is stepping in to protect minorities against an entrenched majority in certain states.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      why only employers with at least 100 employees?

      It’s likely a rule making threshold with regard to OSHA. Lots of regulations have opt outs or floors based on business size. And many times its not about the resources of the company, just an arbitrary legal determination that “small” companies shouldn’t be burdened the way “big” companies are.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      Is that the size that falls under OSHA?Report

    • JS in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      “That aside, why only employers with at least 100 employees? ”

      Limitations on OSHA. This was run through the regular (albeit emergency) rulemaking process at OSHA, so they’re using the limits already in place given the rapid pace and ongoing emergency.

      Or, shorter: “100 employees because this is OSHA creating rules based on law, precedent, and existing regulation and not a command handed down by God”Report

  9. Marchmaine
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    says:

    Bold Prediction: Corporations will resist.

    Basically places all enforcement on them with the only possible remedy is firing the employee or paying $14k *per violation* .

    A nudge for Google, a possible death sentence for Verizon (outside of corporate HQ) and other industries that require the sorts of people who do things. And I won’t even start to go into the ethnic/cultural breakdown of how this breaks down.

    I don’t think this survives contact with K-Street.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      Hardly. the federal effort is lagging private sector mandates by several months. All Biden is doing is backing private sector actors who want an excuse of regulatory compliance . . . . eg:

      https://abc7chicago.com/vaccine-mandate-covid-mandates-vaccines-companies-with/10994032/Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Sure, corporations love making rules that they can follow/abridge/make exceptions to. We can’t fire Timmy today, let’s wait until he delivers on this key project we’re working on… then we can make a determination – for the good of the company.

        Other people forcing you to risk $14k per violation? Week after week? That’s another issue.Report

    • JS in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      “Bold Prediction: Corporations will resist.”

      Lol. You have the cart before the horse. Corporations are thrilled — they get what they want (a vaccinated workforce not tracking COVID into the workplace and constantly causing interruptions) and they can blame the government to any employee angry about it.

      That’s like making the prediction that airlines would resist heavier fines for unruly passengers.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to JS
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        says:

        “That’s like making the prediction that airlines would resist heavier fines for unruly passengers.”

        …paid by the Airlines.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          The only corporations paying those fines for vax-resistors are outfits run by people like Mike Lindell.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            OSHA violations don’t review intent. The theory is that Verizon is making other workers unsafe if Tim wasn’t tested and or vaxed that week. Haven’t read that deeply on what the reporting mechanism is… but OSHA allows for other workers to report violations.

            Which is why I’m predicting that the regulations won’t survive K-Street making sure that the employers have discretion on how this is handled.

            Which, on the one hand is what JS is implying… on the other hand, outsourcing OSHA Safety to the discretion of employers is a neat trick of regulatory capture… but that’s a fig leaf we already have, I suppose?Report

        • JS in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          You mean they’d have a perfect excuse to jettison the handful of passengers who are problems early?

          yes.

          You have a weird view of the incentives. Most large workplaces WANT their employees vaccinated. An excuse to require it or boot you? They’re thrilled.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            No, you seem to be overlooking the fact that OSHA fine’s the Employers for the Worker’s non-compliance.

            As if the FAA would fine the Airlines for the Passenger’s non-compliance.

            Companies want to get back to business… they aren’t interested in potentially firing large chunks of their workforce.

            It’s an open question whether the workforce caves (probably they will)… but rather than find out the Companies are going to make sure the regulations give them the wiggle room to neither fire, nor be responsible for the testing, nor pay the actual fines for non-compliance.

            They will, however, cheerlead vaccinations… which is why OSHA isn’t necessarily as great an idea as more money for Corporations to pay people to get vaccinated.Report

            • JS in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              “Companies want to get back to business… they aren’t interested in potentially firing large chunks of their workforce.”

              Really? Because, huh, lots of businesses are doing it already.

              With OSHA regs, they’ve got a bulletproof defense against wrongful termination claims too.

              Companies don’t want unvaxxed COVID factories in their offices and workplaces. It interferes with business. End of story.

              You seem to weirdly think they’re okay with it.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            I know here is WA, quite a large number of the public sector unions are all fighting the state level mandates. Sure, a good chunk of the fight is over getting PTO for the shot and recovery, but that’s not all of it.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to JS
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            says:

            I’m…I’m sure they would land first, before jettisoning the problem passengers.Report

  10. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how bold and assertive Biden has been. Before the inauguration there were plenty of think pieces about how he was a mild centrist who would fall back on the “Comity of the Senate” type of behavior, but this reflects a different spirit.Report

  11. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Per my comments on the Cult of Savvy, here is Mike Allen, the high priest of Savvy, playing his trade:
    America’s civil war of 2021
    https://www.axios.com/biden-vaccine-mandate-republicans-uprising-b0b2aea2-54f6-4a7b-bc22-089de803b609.html

    Skim the article (it only takes a second!)
    Notice the utter credulousness, how he simply repeats what is said to him like a obedient stenographer. Notice how he makes no attempt to understand any of it or put any of it into context.

    Notice how the entire enterprise values action over analysis and lack of any viewpoint or concept of truth versus falsehood.
    The Axios team has the personal cell number of every major player in Washington and yet has a grasp of American political culture on par with a third grader.

    Yet they are keen to tell us that they have a special perspective from the very inside- they have SCOOPS you see, and they can WIN THE MORNING!Report

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