Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors-National Association (PHCC) has issued the following statement on the vaccine mandate issued by President Biden. The mandate is currently under suspension.Per President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has promulgated an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers of 100 or more employees to establish a mandatory vaccination program for those employees. The plan does allow for certain exemptions from vaccination and does alternately allow employers to establish COVID-19 testing and requires reporting of results for covered employees. OSHA has statutory authority per the OSH Act of 1970 to regulate the workplace in order to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources. PHCC appreciates the authority granted to OSHA to protect the health and safety of American workers;
however, the association believes there are significant underlying challenges for businesses as a result of the OSHA ETS. Should litigation challenging the ETS in Federal Court be ruled in favor of OSHA, PHCC believes:
- Employers are currently faced with unprecedented workforce shortages,
- Certain employees that are unwilling to be vaccinated will likely be unwilling to endure weekly vaccination testing and its related expense,
- Those certain employees are likely to leave the employment of larger businesses and seek employment at businesses with less than 100 employees,
- Larger employers will find their workforce decimated by the resulting attrition.
PHCC further believes:
- The economic costs to create vaccination programs have been understated by OSHA,
- Record keeping requirements are at best vague and at worst onerous,
- Employers, though not required, will have to absorb the cost of COVID-19 testing, time away from work, and isolation time to keep reluctant workers on staff,
- Employers may have to implement incentive pay programs to stimulate compliance,
- Ultimately, larger employers will face additional program costs which will reduce their ability to compete in the market.
- These costs and hardships will be magnified to smaller contractors should OSHA seek to expand program requirements downhill to smaller businesses.
- These costs will be passed on to consumers as the American economy struggles with record inflation.
Based on the listed factors, PHCC believes the attempt to implement a vaccine mandate will be detrimental to the economy and result in hardship for many of its contractor members and their respective employees.