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

The Coalition "Listen to Michigan Businesses" says it believes the new vaccine mandates by President Joe Biden will only hurt business owners - more than the virus itself.

"We hope that our voice will be heard by the Michigan Congressional Delegation and they will urge the president to reconsider," said Rich Studley, Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

With the federal vaccine mandate for business owners expected to be implemented any day now, the newly formed coalition felt something had to be done.

Studley, who heads up the state's chamber of commerce, says for the simple reason every state is different and not every business is alike.

"At the minimum, they hope he will revisit the rule making process to allow Michigan workers and business owners to have meaningful input into the standard.

President Biden tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create the rules - which will require a vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. any employee who refuses will have to be tested weekly or lose their job.

Seven Michigan chambers that launched the group over Zoom Monday say they are for people getting vaccinated - but not putting the burden on business owners who are already struggling and fear losing even more employees.

"Ultimately it puts job suppliers in a really tough position," said Andy Johnston, Grand Rapids chamber. "From both a political and just logistical position, trying to enforce mandates when we actually see what the rules are."

"Expecting human resources to operate such a detailed intensive program under the already limited resources they have,  at a time of economic chaos is simply asking too much," said Nikki Devitt of the Petosky chamber.

The White House has said the Department of Labor can take action when there is "a grave risk to workers" and a pandemic that has killed more than 700,000 people is just that.

But members of the coalition say there are still so many questions -  who pays for the testing, can someone work while waiting for results, and what about the $14,000 fines?   
"Employers shouldn’t be asked to shoulder this responsibility alone," said Warren Call of Traverse Connect. "It is the right goal - but the wrong tactic to get there."

If the Biden administration does not respond, the coalition is appealing to MIOSHA to give leeway and time for businesses to adjust.