The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has just blocked what has been thought of as the “centrepiece” of Joe Biden’s push to get more people vaccinated. They have rejected a ruling that would have required 84 million workers to get a COVID jab or periodic tests.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says only 63% of the country is fully vaccinated and of that group, just 37% have received a booster. This OSHA ruling will limit the US Government’s options for increasing the country’s vaccination rate.
The OSHA Rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the vaccine-or-test mandate at the center of the National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor in November.
The rule, which OSHA estimated would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months was issued as a so-called emergency temporary standard (ETS). It required all employers with 100 or more employees, which is roughly two-thirds of the private sector, to compel those employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to be tested weekly and wear masks at work. The government expected the mandate to cover 84 million workers.
Although the rule had partially taken effect, under federal law, the ETS can only be put in place immediately for six months, but after the six months are up, the ruling must meet a more “demanding legal test showing it is necessary to protect employees from “grave danger.”
On the 13th January 2022, however, this mandate was challenged by businesses, states, and non-profits, and the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted their request to “put it on hold”. The court described the mandate as a “significant encroachment into the lives and health of a vast number of employees”(source).
SCOTUS went on to emphasise that Congress must speak clearly if it intends to give a federal agency the authority to “exercise powers of vast economic and political significance.”, the court continued, Congress did not.
In fact, the main purpose of OSHA is to “assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance” and not as the court states, “broad public health measures.”
The court did however believe that COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, although recognised that it is not a risk that workers encounter simply by virtue of being at work. In other words, it spreads virtually anywhere that people gather.
The Over-reaching OSHA
Therefore, the court decided that by permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock would “significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,”
The court also noted that the fact that OSHA has never adopted a similar regulation is a “telling indication” that the vaccine-or-test mandate exceeds the agency’s power.
Joe Biden released a statement following the judgement from SCOTUS and urged private employers to implement their own vaccine requirements after the Supreme Court blocked his vaccine-or-test mandate.
He said, “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” Biden said. “This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or to permit workers to refuse to be vaccinated, so long as they were tested once a week and wore a mask at work: a very modest burden.”
It is not a very modest burden to those that know the tests do not distinguish a virus and the masks are ineffective and preventing the spread of aerosol viruses in event that there was one. To those people that know by complying with the ETS rules, they are aiding and abetting the corrupt agenda, therefore it is not a very modest burden and certainly not grounded in science.
According to Biden, the responsibility will lie with each state and individual employer to determine whether to make their workplaces as “safe” as possible for employees and whether their businesses will be “safe” for consumers during he says, “this pandemic” by “requiring employees to take the “simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,”
This is. of course, an effective plea, by a tactic of virtue signalling and Biden clearly knows that the employers are often between a rock a hard place trying to appease employees, customers, and also their shareholders as we have recently seen in the UK with the retailer Next and not grounded in science at all.
Next and Ikea
Next who employs 37,000 people in the UK told the BBC, “it had to balance the needs of staff and shareholders”. In order to do so, the retailer is using penalties to force their staff to comply with their “rules” by cutting sick pay for its unvaccinated staff who must isolate after coming into contact with someone who has been deemed to have Covid.
However, they have decided that staff who have not been vaccinated will still receive sick pay if they test positive for the virus, again forcing them to comply with a tool that continues the farce.
A similar move was made by Ikea, which employs 10,000 people in the UK, and now unvaccinated workers at Next and Ikea will only be eligible for statutory sick pay – which is currently set at £96.35 a week – during their 10 days of isolation unless there are mitigating circumstances. This compares with weekly pay of more than £400 before tax for an average store worker at Ikea.
If the vaccine-or-test mandate exceeds the OSHA agency’s power, then surely it exceeds the powers of employers of various companies across the U.S. whose sole purpose is to line the pockets of owners and shareholders?
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