Rep. Thompson disapproves of Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate

U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) said he disapproved of President Joe Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vaccine mandate in a statement Thursday.

Last week, OSHA published in the Federal Register an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that would require private-sector employers with more than 100 workers to ensure those workers are vaccinated against COVID-19. Employers who do not want to dismiss unvaccinated employees have the option to allow those who do not want to get vaccinated to submit to weekly COVID testing and follow masking requirements when working indoors.

Thompson, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, called the mandate “federal overreach”.

“This decision is a prime example of blatant federal overreach. Small businesses are already struggling to hire employees and cover costs. President Biden’s mandate will only serve to add further strain on our economy, in addition to rapidly rising inflation, skyrocketing energy and transportation costs, and a shortage of both goods and workers,” Thompson said in a statement. “This is a one-size-fits-all response, which ignores the fact that risk of hospitalization and mortality due to COVID-19 infection are not equal amongst our population. Pennsylvanians who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine should consult their medical professional and make their own choices, not have the federal government dictate their health care decisions.”

Masking requirements for unvaccinated employees would begin on Dec. 5, according to the new OSHA guidelines. Employers would have until Jan. 4, 2022 to ensure all of their employees are vaccinated, or begin testing on Jan. 5. The guidelines also provide that employers would need to provide four hours of paid leave for workers to get shots, and to provide additional leave for workers who need time to recover from side effects.

The ETS will be in place for six months, at which time OSHA will determine if the ETS should be made permanent.

Liz Carey

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