Trucking industry says vaccine mandate will exacerbate supply chain issues

All companies with 100 employees or more must require staff to be vaccinated with the COVID vaccine by January 4.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Truckload Carriers Association says the Biden administration ignored its pleas to exempt truckers from a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Biden announced Thursday that all companies with 100 employees or more must require staff to be vaccinated with the COVID vaccine by January 4.

Unvaccinated employees must provide weekly tests that prove they are negative. The company will not pay for those tests unless you have a medical or religious exemption.

The employees who do not get vaccinated also must wear a mask

Officials with the trucking industry say they are short about 80,000 truck drivers, which has already caused major supply chain issues. It's believed the Biden Administration's new mandate will only exacerbate the issues.

SEE ALSO: President Biden's vaccine mandate must go into effect Jan. 4
EMBED More News Videos

"Employers have no choice, they have to follow federal law," said an employment law expert.



"Our professional truck drivers could end up leaving this industry and affect the delivery mode that this country enjoys so heavily," said Dave Heller, vice president of government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association.

The mandate will also require unvaccinated workers to begin wearing masks by December 5.

Companies would not be required to pay for or provide the tests unless otherwise required by state or local laws. Fines for non-compliance with the rules could range from $10,000 for one person or over $100,000 for a company.

Truck driver Sadaya Morris, 28, says the mandate is going to hurt the trucking industry.

"It is going to be very detrimental. I know a lot of drivers that are against the vaccine especially because it doesn't hold any type of real value to prevent you from getting COVID," said Morris.

In regards to Morris' stance, the CDC says research shows that all COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States provide protection against COVID-19.

Vaccines reduce your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, the CDC says.

"While COVID-19 vaccines are working well, some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get sick, because no vaccines are 100% effective," the CDC said. "These are called vaccine breakthrough cases. However, data suggest that vaccination may make symptoms less severe in people who are vaccinated but still get COVID-19. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization among people of all ages eligible to receive them. This includes people 65 years and older who are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19."

SEE ALSO: New vaccine mandates: Most US employees must get shot or test weekly for COVID by Jan. 4

Kellylynn McLaughlin believes getting vaccinated is the right thing to do, but she got COVID and the delta variant, and knows many of her fellow truck drivers are against the mandate.

"I don't think it's gonna go over very well. And I think it will be expensive and that we'll lose more drivers, which is not what we need right now," said Mclaughlin.

Late Thursday, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh tried to clarify the mandate's impact.

"If you're a truck driver and you're outside, you're in a cab driving by yourself, this doesn't impact you. If you're a worker outside working in the area, this doesn't impact you," said Walsh.

The Truckload Carriers Association says it is still analyzing the mandate.

Efforts are currently underway by private sector companies, nonprofit groups and roughly a dozen state governors to file a lawsuit against the mandate.

"There are certainly going to be cases coming to challenge the Biden administration to issue this mandate. The authority will be they don't have the authority under the statute they're using, but that most likely will take a while to resolve," said Ann Juliano, a Villanova University law professor who specializes in employment law.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.