Small businesses across the nation have already faced labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate upon private sectors would exacerbate the situation further, according to Karen Harned, the small business legal center director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“For months now they’ve been struggling to get enough workers to work at their establishments to help them move product,” Harned told NTD in an interview broadcast Monday, “and the supply chain issues that we’re hearing about are very real for them as well.”
Harned explained that small business owners would be affected more severely by supply chain issues, because they can’t buy in large quantities like bigger retailers or bigger restauranteurs.
“The pandemic—while it has had impacts in the past—that is not the main driver of that labor shortage right now,” Harned said, adding she doesn’t think the vaccine mandate outweighs the challenges it poses to small businesses.
On Nov. 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) published an Emergency Temporary Standard that would require private employers with 100 or more employees to impose a mandatory COVID-19 vaccinate-or-test policy. OSHA also indicated at the time that it sought to expand the mandate to private employers with less than 100 employees.
“[The mandate] will even exacerbate this [labor shortages] further,” Harned said.
“In any issues that might follow from that—like you potentially having to fire them or weekly tests—those sorts of things,” Harned added, “there’s also tremendous record-keeping burdens that are throughout this mandate.”
Under the mandate, the business owners would have to keep separate files on each employee, with individual weekly tests, and they’ve got to all be secured. For decades, Harned said research has shown that record-keeping is a much bigger burden for small business owners, because they don’t have a compliance officer like bigger corporate counterparts. “It’s the business owner that’s going to be doing a lot of this work, record-keeping, and other types of work associated with the mandate.”
NFIB, one of the largest small business associations in the nation, filed a lawsuit against OSHA’s mandate. Multiple businesses, individuals, and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi, filed similar lawsuits. The lawsuits were later rolled into one case.
On Nov. 12, the 5th Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s mandate. In a Dec. 3 ruling, The 6th Circuit Court rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to overturn a hold on the mandate, also denying the government’s motion to transfer the case to another court.
Harned told NTD that she believes the Biden administration will lose the legal fight in her case.
Harned also said the vast majority of small business owners represented by the association have no intention of mandating COVID-19 vaccines upon their workers.
“I can just speak for the NFIB members who I represent, and for them, the vast majority do not support the mandate,” Harned said. “They have been very clear on that since we began asking the question over the summer. In fact, I think it was 83 percent or something had no intention of requiring their employees to get vaccinated.”
Harned added that small business owners have been “very aggressive” to keep their workers safe in order to stay in business. They also normally work with their workers “shoulder to shoulder.”
In a poll (pdf) released in September, NFIB found that 83 percent of small business owners won’t ask their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
NFIB conducted the survey among a random 20,000 members out of its 300,000 member database. The result also showed that nearly 50 percent of business owners thought the supply chain issue had been a “significant issue” affecting their businesses, while 40 percent thought it had been a “mild to moderate issue.” While 27 percent thought their business were experiencing “significant” labor shortage, 39 percent experienced “mild to moderate” labor shortages.
The mandate not only will worsen the labor shortage but the supply chain issue as well. Truckers across the nation told The Epoch Times recently that they might quit if forced to get vaccinated. An industry poll also showed that up to 30 percent of truckers would seriously consider quitting over the mandate, which would make the supply chain crisis even worse.
President Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 winter plan last week, saying his plan doesn’t expand those mandates but focused more on vaccines and boosters.
Kevin Hogan contributed to this report.