In an empowering and courageous statement released Friday by the ATA (American Trucking Association), they say that “drivers are exempt from vaccine mandate.”
The statement is a direct response to the OSHA’s issuing of an Interim Final Rule dealing with sweeping new private sector vaccine requirements.
As a reminder, under the Final Rule, which affects employers with 100 or more employees, workers who work with them must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. The alternative is weekly testing for the employees. Additionally, all unvaccinated employees need to wear a facemask at all times starting Dec. 5.
The mandate was received with harsh opinions within the trucking industry. Most truckers and employers called the mandate “disastrous” for the already struggling supply chain.
ATA believes that solo truckers should be exempt from the vaccine requirements due to the solitary nature of their job.
ATA’s president and CEO Chris Spear had the following to say:
“As we made clear in our comments to the Administration prior to the rule’s publication, drivers spend the vast majority of their workday alone in the cab and outside. The rule published yesterday exempts employees who exclusively work outdoors or remotely and have minimal contact with others indoors, and all indications thus far from the Department of Labor suggest this exemption does apply to the commercial truck driver population.
While we complete our due diligence to confirm that fact through official channels, we see quotes from Labor Secretary Walsh as an enormous victory for our association and industry. Given the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, it is vital that our industry has the relief it needs to keep critical goods moving, including food, fuel, medicine and the vaccine itself.
We continue to believe OSHA is using extraordinary authority unwisely, applying it across all industries at an arbitrary threshold of 100 employees that fails to factor in actual risks. We are weighing all options of recourse to ensure every segment of our industry’s workforce is shielded from the unintended consequences of this misguided mandate.”
The ATA statement comes as a relief for truckers while the mandate is under finalizing touch-ups.
Should truckers be mandated to vaccinate, nearly 37% of all drivers will leave the industry, ATA stated in a previous statement.