Michigan business groups urge Biden to reconsider COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Michigan business groups on Monday urged President Joe Biden to reconsider a plan to require most workers to get vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 but said, if it is enacted, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should ensure related state rules are no stricter.

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The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and six local chambers raised a host of concerns and questions over the pending federal mandate, which will apply to employers with at least 100 employees. They cited the cost, the logistical challenge of checking workers’ vaccination status and test results at a time human resources or other staffing is limited, and said the 100-employee threshold is arbitrary.

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The organizations also asked how employees will be counted, whether the unvaccinated will be able to work while awaiting weekly test results and how long companies will have to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule.

Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said the regulations may be announced later this week or next week. Michigan is among 27 states that operate and enforce workplace safety rules instead of the U.S. government. OSHA-approved state plans must be at least as effective as the federal program.