Trucking association warns federal COVID vaccine requirement could be ‘disastrous’ on supply chain

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Several Triangle businesses are scrambling to determine how they will comply with a new federal COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

It applies to companies with 100 or more employees. Companies have until January 4 to ensure workers are fully vaccinated.

All unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks by December 5 and provide a negative COVID test weekly.

“We are reviewing it carefully to determine how we will comply,” said Neil Nissan, director of corporate media and executive support for Duke Energy Progress.

Workers, meanwhile, face a new reality.

Mike Bradshaw is not vaccinated.

He works 50 to 60 hours a week doing a variety of different jobs.

“The reason I didn’t get it was due to different health reasons and things like that,” Bradshaw said.

He agrees with the warrant and figured he’d have to get shot sooner or later.

“I don’t mind that. As long as it protects everyone, I think that’s a good thing,” Bradshaw said.

The requirement, if maintained, will affect about 80 million Americans or two-thirds of American workers

It’s the first time Washington has set a federal standard that lists a respiratory virus as an occupational hazard. He will certainly face legal challenges.

The Truckload Carrier Association, TCA, warned the mandate would be “disastrous” on the already strained supply chain and could ruin Christmas for many.

The TCA says it has advocated for an exemption and that the mandate will affect drivers across the country that residents rely on to “deliver food, fuel and gifts for the upcoming holiday season.”

Raleigh resident Reyna Nish said she felt the mandate was excessive.

“I personally like government institutions to have mandates, but I think private companies like Google and Amazon — it’s really their decision,” Nish said.

Ronald Boertmann, of Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, has been a truck driver for 34 years.

He said he had COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic and eventually decided to get vaccinated – but added that it shouldn’t be compulsory.

“As an American, I don’t think it should be forced on anyone. It should be your choice,” Boertmann said.

He said he thinks the company he works for will abide by the vaccination mandate rule.

Truckers are independent thinking people,” Boertmann said. “Here, you are a bit alone. No one is pushing you to take this path. You make your own life.”

Russell Ferguson, a truck driver based in Abilene, Texas, said he thinks if ports start requiring vaccines, most truckers will quit.

“It should be a personal choice, no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing,” Ferguson said. “I’m doing this just for the simple fact that I’m helping America roll, which is what we do here.

“Most of the trucking companies are just veterans, and we’re not about to leave anyone with a tyrannical point of view…and that’s what we do with what we see…and that just not going to happen.”

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Andrew B. Reiter