Business groups in Michigan are happy that the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a federal vaccine mandate.
Court rules that private businesses with more than 100 employees can’t be forced to vaccinate or test their employees. There have been months of uncertainty for businesses across the state while the requirement was argued in front of the Supreme Court last week.
VP of business advocacy and member engagement Wendy Block said the decision to halt the mandate was well-received by business people.
According to her, “this judgement is an enormous relief for many Michigan businesses who were on edge about this unprecedented attack on employer rights and remained extremely uncertain about how they would or could enforce the comprehensive vaccine mandate.”
Options for Employers
As a result of the mandate, employers had two options: a vaccinate-or-test policy or one that said they would fire people who didn’t vaccinate. An employee at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce said employers were becoming more concerned about how much it would cost and how quickly they could get testing supplies.
This is what Johnston said about the federal vaccine requirement: “It was a good thing that the federal vaccine mandate was well-intentioned, but it was also making our businesses take on new responsibilities that they didn’t have the experience or resources to do.”
For Restaurant Partners Management President Jeff Lobdell, the mandate’s implementation would need a search for tests to remain in place on-site. When he runs his business, he has 18 places between Grand Rapids and Traverse City, like the Beltline Bar and Sundance Grill.
While none of Lobdell’s restaurants had more than 100 employees, the whole company had 670 employees and was forced to make them work. Lobdell said he is glad he doesn’t have to “police our employees.” He claimed that the restaurant business was not eager to go through the emotional pain of enforcing masks again. “We are happy that we don’t have to be in the enforcer,” he said. “But still, that means that we want everyone to get vaccinated.”
According to ABC Michigan’s President Jimmy Greene, the mandate didn’t make sense from a business perspective for the construction industry because of its size and scope. It had a little bit of stupidity behind it, he told us.
In a field where contractors work, pitting small businesses against big businesses didn’t seem fair. Greene thinks that about 80% of the industry didn’t meet the 100-employee threshold, so they didn’t have to pay. It meant the majority of firms were now competing with the 20% of larger businesses..
Mandatory for Healthcare Workers
To make things even more confusing, most contractors work on the same job site, which makes things even more confusing. It looks like math here, which makes people say “huh?” Greene said that. In this case, I’m not going to be political about it.” As far as logistics and operations go, it just didn’t make sense at all
Contractors aren’t out of the woods when it comes to vaccine requirements, Greene says. The Supreme Court let the mandate for healthcare workers to get vaccines go ahead. Contractors will have to figure out what that means for them when they get bids on projects.
Moving on: Greene said that he and the trade association still fully support workers getting vaccinated, but each company will have to figure out what works best for their workers and what they can do.
He said that even though he thought the president’s approach was wrong, his goal was still right: : “I say that because I have had all three shots. He wants to get everyone vaccinated, which is a good thing to want to do. …but again, it’s back to the drawing board.”