By Tammy Hung
The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Nov. 5 filed a lawsuit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor over the vaccine mandate requiring 84 million private-sector workers to get fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.
The lawsuit (pdf) followed a day after the Biden administration announced mandates for companies with 100 or more employees who will need to get vaccinated or receive weekly testing for COVID-19.
“Joe Biden failed to shut down the virus as he promised—he couldn’t do his job, so now he wants you to lose yours,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
“This mandate is yet another attack on frontline workers, first responders, small businesses, and the rights of the American people,” she added. “Additionally, by taking months to draft this order and shifting the deadline to after the holidays for political gain, Biden has completely undermined any emergency justification for this unlawful overreach.”
The OSHA rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to put vaccine requirements in place for all staff, or face fines of up to $13,600 per violation. The agency can also fine an additional $13,600 per day that an employer does not abate the violation. For a willful, or serious, violation OSHA can issue a fine up to $136,000.
Biden said the mandate was being developed by OSHA in a statement on Sept. 9, when he accused unvaccinated Americans of causing “a lot of damage” and overcrowding hospitals.
With the mandate in place, OSHA is allowed to put into place an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) when it determines workers are at “grave risk.”
Under the rule, workers who aren’t vaccinated are required to submit a weekly negative COVID test at no expense to their employer. Unvaccinated workers are also required to wear masks when on the job.
OSHA has also indicated the rule may be expanded to include small businesses. According to the 490-page document, the agency is seeking public comments “to determine whether to expand the scope of the ETS.”
“Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden’s unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees,” McDaniel said in a September statement.
“Like many Americans, I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate,” she said.
The rule takes effect immediately upon publication, scheduled for Nov. 5, in the federal register.
While White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in July that issuing a vaccine mandate is “not the role of the federal government,” the Biden administration has since implemented sweeping measures requiring mandatory vaccinations for federal employees and healthcare workers.