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Michigan business leaders urge President Biden to reconsider vaccine mandate

Posted at 11:15 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 18:22:46-04

MICHIGAN — A group of Michigan business leaders on Monday asked President Biden to reconsider a proposed vaccine mandate. 

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and six local chambers raised a host of concerns and questions about the order, which would require companies with more than 100 workers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or test employees for the virus weekly. 

It could affect an estimated two million workers statewide. 

Officials believe the mandate puts businesses in an unfair political and logistical position. They expect details to be announced later this week or next week.

Some of the worries include it worsening staffing shortages, how long companies will have to comply with the rules, and how testing is supposed to be implemented when it’s not easily accessible in some communities.

“The federal vaccine mandate is well intentioned, but informally, it creates an entire new level of private sector responsibilities that our members, by and large, have neither the experience or the resources to carry out at this time,” said Niki Devitt, president of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“By placing the burden on our businesses to do so, to enforce and to penalize not only their businesses but their employees with possible termination, it’s unintended consequences in a time when we need our workforce and our talent,” said Kara Beer, who runs Battle Creek’s chamber of commerce.

The coalition believes companies should be able to make their own decision without the federal government intervening.

If enacted, leaders say the hope Governor Gretchen Whitmer ensures the rules be no stricter that needed. Michigan is among 27 states that operates and enforces its own workplace safety rules, rather than the US government. OSHA-approved state plans must be at least as effective as the federal program.

A press conference about the new coalition happened Monday at 11:30 a.m.

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