Covid Vaccine Mandate Brews Trouble in the Trucking Industry
Clearly there is no shortage of issues affecting the trucking industry. But foremost among them is the problem of driver shortages.
There are more open positions for drivers than people applying for these jobs. Fleet truck drivers tend to be older, but the trucking industry is not attracting many younger people to the field:
Additionally, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) notes that less than 2% of drivers are women. So given the situation at hand, let’s look at another issue that is adding complication to an already stressed situation: Vaccine Mandates.
Who Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Impact & What Are the Consequences?
The Biden Administration’s newly proposed standards may have a pervasive impact on the economy and overall picture of work in America. Over 80 million working Americans at every company with more than 100 employees would be affected by the new standards, which would place significant new demands on our industry. So far, the following requirements have been identified for employers:
- All employers with 100+ employees must make sure that their employees are vaccinated. Any employee who is not vaccinated will have to be tested for the virus every week.
- Employers will be obligated to give workers paid time off for immunization or the aftereffects of the vaccination.
- All federal contractors will need to ensure that every employee is vaccinated. There is no option to test unvaccinated employees as an alternative.
- Violations can result in fines. It depends on the situation. Violations of these requirements could result in fines that vary from about $1,000 per instance in most circumstances where there is little or almost no immediate danger to the workers, on up to $136,000 per instance for a willful or repeat violation.
- Based on rough calculations, trucking firms with at least 50 tractors can have between 100 and 500 employees. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and FreightWaves Passport Research revealed that fleets with 56 or more tractors account for around 1.3% of the country’s fleet but almost half of the total number of tractors.
How The Industry Is Responding to Biden’s New Vaccine Mandate
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued this statement in response to the news:
“The first rule of any public health policy should be ‘do no harm.’ Unfortunately, these latest mandates and the unintended consequences they’ll create fall short of that standard.
“ATA, its members and our drivers remain committed to delivering life-saving COVID vaccines, but these proposed requirements—however well-intentioned—threaten to cause further disruptions throughout the supply chain, impeding our nation’s COVID response efforts and putting the brakes on any economic revival.
“If these mandates are designed to protect Americans, then why the discriminatory 100-employee threshold, picking winners and losers for both employees and employers?
“As this proposal moves forward, ATA is examining all options and will choose a path that protects our industry—so that it can continue delivering on behalf of our country.”
Possible Outcomes of The Vaccine Mandate
We can only speculate as to how this will all play out. But with increasing driver shortages, a few things we can assume are that these product shortages at your local stores will get worse, not better. It’s also possible that growing driver shortage will lead to supply chain issues that could create a ripple effect for industries whose lifeblood depends upon consistent access to a shipment pipeline. We’re talking about potential shortages of products on grocery store shelves and big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot as well. this will also impact manufacturers that need raw materials to produce their finished goods.
Beyond Driver Shortages & Mandates
As we continue to monitor the evolving situation, it’s our mission to continue providing our fleet management customers with the best in support and capabilities.
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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