Coronavirus

Ohio group continues fight to block Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021.
The Supreme Court is seen in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021. AP

An Ohio policy group has continued its fight in the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Biden administration’s effort to force businesses across the country to require employee COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Buckeye Institute, based in Columbus, filed its reply brief in the Supreme Court for an emergency stay, saying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccination mandate significantly would harm its client, Phillips Manufacturing and Tower Co.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Friday.

“The Buckeye Institute’s clients have clearly demonstrated that they will suffer irreparable and immediate economic harm if the OSHA vaccine mandate is allowed to be enforced,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of the Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney representing Phillips.

“If the court does not act immediately to halt the vaccine mandate’s implementation, these companies will be compelled to comply with this unlawful requirement and forced to implement expensive policies and practices that will threaten their businesses, expose them to penalties for noncompliance and cost them qualified, well-trained, good employees at a time when they are already suffering a labor shortage,” Alt said.

Phillips, according to a news release, said it would lose nearly one-fifth of its existing workforce if the mandate was enforced. The Buckeye Institute said the mandate also would cost the company nearly $1 million in recruiting, training, additional overtime and other costs.

The 5th Circuit in New Orleans previously blocked the mandate, citing “grave” constitutional concerns. Numerous lawsuits against the mandate were consolidated after that ruling and sent to the Sixth Circuit.

The mandate requires employers with 100 or more workers to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, undergo weekly testing or face stiff fines.

“It is difficult to imagine what more OSHA could do or rely on to justify its finding that workers face a grave danger in the workplace,” the Sixth Circuit Court wrote.

The Sixth Circuit also denied The Buckeye Institute’s motion for a hearing in front of the full court late last month.

The Buckeye Institute recently filed a motion demanding the White House produce all communications and records related to the initiation and development of President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate.

The motion claims the White House imposed the mandate through OHSA to circumvent limits on federal power. It asserts the mandate had little to do with workplace safety but rather to increase individual vaccination rates.

States, businesses and other groups filed 34 lawsuits against the Biden administration’s mandate that private sector businesses with 100 or more employees require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face weekly testing. The policy also would impose nearly $14,000 in fines per employee for businesses caught letting their workers skirt the directive.

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