The Grinch may have stiff competition in President Biden. Retailers, industry leaders and labor groups aren't sending their requests to the North Pole -- they are sending them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, asking the president to push pause on the deadline for workers to comply with the COVID vaccine mandate, which has been set for December 8.
Christmas is the "biggest season" for businesses and retailers, Congressman Randy Weber (R-Texas) explained on "Washington Watch." They typically operate in the red for 11 months of the year and turn a profit (get "in the black") starting on Black Friday. Many businesses are already short-staffed after having had to compete all year with excessive unemployment benefits approved by Congress. Many already plan to hire additional workers to accommodate the rush of holiday shoppers. They fear a vaccine mandate would force workers to quit just when they need them most. In fact, in one survey, 30 percent of unvaccinated workers said they would leave their job over a vaccine mandate, while only 12 percent said they would be likely to get the vaccine.
Normally, the alternative to retailers is online shopping. But that requires someone to ship and handle the orders: truck drivers. "For years," said Weber, "the trucking industry actually had a bumper sticker that said if anything got delivered to your door, it came by truck." American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear warned the Office of Management and Budget (which is reviewing the private employer mandate) in a letter last Thursday, "placing vaccination mandates on employers, which in turn force employees to be vaccinated, will create a workforce crisis for our industry." He estimates 37 percent of truck drivers could retire early, resign, or switch to smaller companies.
The problem is worse for companies with federal contracts like UPS and FedEx because they are covered by the federal contractor mandate that has already been issued. Last Monday, members of the Cargo Airline Association expressed "significant concerns with ... the ability of industry members to implement the required employee vaccinations by Dec. 8, 2021" in a letter to President Biden. All of these delivery obstacles simply compound the supply chain problems created by the bottleneck at America's ports.
President Biden promised to end the coronavirus pandemic within his first 100 days as president. Now, his increasingly grasping attempts to deal with it may just cancel Christmas. Perhaps that will awaken the 42 percent of Americans who still approve of the job he is doing.
My empathy is for the workers and their families, not for big business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their allies spend their time and money advocating for the Left's social policies, fund their left-wing candidates for office, and then they come crying to conservatives to save them from left-wing economic policies. Their lobbying to postpone the vaccine mandate deadline until after the holidays "makes sense from a business standpoint," as Weber pointed out. But it shows they care more about their bottom line than for their workers. Those workers will still care about their freedom come January. "Sure, they would get a reprieve for 90 days," said Weber, but the businesses will leave those workers and their families out in the cold as soon as their own warm pockets are lined. America's big businesses, so often given to moralistic crusading, have taken a hard pass on defending the rights of their workers to make their own health care decisions.