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Supreme Court stays OSHA vaccination order

Posted at 4:35 p.m. on January 13, 2022

The Brillion News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court, on Thursday afternoon (January 13, 2022) issued an order blocking OSHA from imposing a vaccinate or test rule on large employers (NFIB v. OSHA).

But, in a separate case (Biden v. Missouri), the high court set aside lower court rulings that had blocked mandates that Medicare and Medicaid providers be vaccinated.

In the first case, the court ruled that Congress had never given OSHA rthe power it claimed to have in ordering worker vaccinations and testing.

“Applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary [of Labor] lacked authority to impose the mandate. Administrative agencies are creatures of statute. They accordingly possess only the authority that Congress has provided. The Secretary has ordered 84 million Americans to either obtain a COVID–19 vaccine or undergo weekly medical testing at their own expense. This is no ‘everyday exercise of federal power.’” the court wrote.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

“Wisconsin businesses can breathe a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court has stayed this unlawful and unworkable mandate,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “If enacted, employers would face untold financial costs to comply with this ETS and an unprecedented number of workers would walk off the job in the middle of a historic workforce shortage.”

WMC previously filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief with the Sixth Circuit in this case arguing that OSHA does not have the authority to implement such a rule, and detailing the significant and irreparable harm it would have on Wisconsin businesses and workers if it took effect.

The amicus brief notes that Congress has not given OSHA any statutory authority to mandate vaccinations, and the Supreme Court adopted that argument.

The brief also details the devastating impact the vaccine and testing mandate would have on Wisconsin’s workforce.

WMC conducted a survey in November of its members with 100 employees or more on the OSHA emergency temporary standard (ETS). The survey revealed that 88 percent of respondents expect to lose a significant part of their workforce if the mandate is enacted. Of the businesses who anticipate losing employees, more than half expect to lose between 11 and 40 percent of their workforce under the OSHA ETS.


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