Michigan Chamber of business owners worry for Jan. 4 Biden vaccine mandate Jan. 4 deadline

A Michigan Chamber Coalition of business owners basically begged President Joe Biden to hit the pause button - and take feedback from businesses before implementing the federal mandate.

That clearly didn't happen - and instead of helping our economy - they believe the vaccine mandate will only make things worse.

"We have to have some sort of check on this rule, not a rubber stamp," said Henry Wolf of the Northern Michigan Chamber during a Zoom meeting.

No input, no notice, and now a 490-page emergency temporary standard from OSHA regulating Covid vaccine and testing mandates -  members of the Michigan Chamber Coalition find nearly impossible to navigate.

"ETS in Michigan stands for Excessive, Time-consuming and Shortsighted," said Rich Studley, Michigan Chamber of Commerce.  

Studley, the head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, took part in the virtual meeting where they listened to the Michigan Business Coalition express their support for the vaccine - but not the mandate which they believe will do more harm than good.  

Related: Michigan chamber of commerces join forces to challenge Biden mandates on businesses

\"The government has decided to put employers in the middle of divisiveness," said Andy Johnston, Grand Rapids Area Chamber. "And I am concerned this is going to create more hesitancy."

"Unfortunately this is going to exasperate that situation," said Michael Tierney, CEO of Community Bankers of Michigan. "It is pretty typical. You get some surprise retirements. And they are going to come in droves with this mandate. And again, this couldn’t come at a worse time when most of our businesses are in the busiest time of the year."

The federal mandate for employers with more than 100 workers to require the Covid vaccine or masks and weekly testing, comes as cases in our state continue to trend upward.

It also comes at a time when kids 5 to 11 can get the shot and pharmaceutical companies are hoping to release an antiviral drug to combat Covid.

Lawsuits have been filed against OSHA - and a temporary stay has been issued. But James Reid who advises human resources management in our state, says businesses need to be prepared.

"In order to avoid up to a $14,000 per violation fine, we are recommending that companies are still prepared to have a plan in place," he said. "At a minimum, identify  how you are going to learn your employees' vaccination status, are you going to allow employees to self-test and how are you going to verify those tests."

In the meantime - the coalition is encouraging employers and employees to make their voices heard - and call for a referendum on the vaccine rule.

"The challenge we all face right now and regulatory uncertainty is a jobs killer," Studley said.