How President Biden's pandemic recovery plan will impact Michigan

Posted at 5:57 AM, Sep 10, 2021

(WXYZ) — Through an executive order, President Joe Biden is requiring all federal workers and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


Additionally, the Labor Department will now mandate businesses with 100 or more workers to make sure employees are vaccinated or tested once a week.

So, how will this affect workers in Michigan?

As companies here in the metro Detroit area brace for these changes, like the Big Three and Rocket Companies, some will likely be challenging them, too.

Biden's executive orders are part of his new COVID-19 strategy, which includes a six-pillar approach to combating the delta variant's spread by:

  • Vaccinating the unvaccinated
  • Further protecting the vaccinated through booster shots
  • Keeping schools open
  • Increasing testing and requiring masks
  • Protecting the economic recovery
  • Improving care for those with COVID-19

"We are very confident that pulling this level of vaccination requirements across 100 million workers will have a big impact," said Jeff Zients, White House COVID Response Director.

7 Action News reached out to Ford Motor Company in response to the executive actions. Ford released the following statement:

"Ford continues to strongly encourage all employees who are eligible to get vaccinated. We believe the vaccine plays a critical role in combating the virus and have already designated some roles where we require the vaccine. We will be assessing the new executive actions to determine what adjustments need to be made to our current vaccination policy as we continue to prioritize the safety of our employees."

Challenges to the mandates in court are expected; this summer, the Department of Justice confirmed an employer's right to vaccine mandates. This applies to colleges and school districts, as well. However, that opinion has not stopped litigation on the issue.

In response to Henry Ford Health System's vaccine mandate for employees, which goes into effect Sept. 10, several employees are suing the health system, arguing the mandate violates their constitutional right to bodily integrity.

The health system said this requirement is consistent with its existing vaccination policy for things like the flu, measles, mumps, etc.

Biden also called on governors to mandate vaccines for teachers and school staff. Nine states have done so, but Michigan is not among them.

Despite Governor Gretchen Whitmer stopping short of requiring vaccines for state workers, Michigan Republicans have already taken steps to preemptively ban vaccine mandates.

In a statement to 7 Action News, the governor's office said she shares the president’s goal to tackle this virus, and is reviewing the president’s plan to understand what this means for Michiganders.

A number of Republicans are voicing their opposition to the mandate. Thursday night, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement in response.

"Joe Biden promised to shut down the virus – he failed. Biden promised he would not force mandates on Americans – he lied. Biden is forcing an unconstitutional, un-American federal decree on businesses and families. His agenda is all about power, all about control, and meant to divide us."

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.