American Trucking Associations chief executive Chris Spear delivered a grim warning that the industry is under an immense amount of pressure thanks to the Biden admin – despite already being at the “edge of a cliff.”
During an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, Spear said that one obstacle facing the industry is “a year of policies” that involved “rewarding people not to return to work.”
He pointed to a “chronic shortage of talent, not just in trucking where we’re short 81,000 drivers, but across every sector of employment.”
“We are all taking a pay cut in 2022 as a result of bad policies,” Spear added, citing the inflationary impact of labor shortages. “But it doesn’t have to be this hard or this long if you institute good policy, rather than just being perceived as doing something, you’ll move out of this COVID-induced rut a lot faster.”
Spear also cited COVID-19 vaccine mandates as “adding additional headwind” to trucking companies, which are “moving 72% of the domestic freight.”
“If you’re concerned about the supply chain, adding additional layers and mandates on top of that is not going to make it any easier,” Spear asserted.
The American Trucking Associations and other industry groups warned the Biden administration back in November that its private employer vaccine mandate would cause trucking companies to lose nearly four in ten drivers – worsening an already dangerous crisis.
“Our industries are committed partners in the fight against COVID-19, and we unequivocally support the use of vaccines to fight its spread,” said a joint statement. “However, we are concerned a mandate will cripple an already strained supply chain.”
“We estimate companies covered by the mandate could lose 37% of drivers at a time when the nation is already short 80,000 truck drivers. We ask for flexibility for transportation and supply chain essential workers, particularly truck drivers who spend most of their time in their trucks and have minimal contact with colleagues and customers.”
“While we represent different industries, we share the common burden of current supply chain disruptions, which are driving up prices and leading to a growing shortage of goods in the United States, with the holidays just around the corner,” the statement continued.
Thankfully, President Biden’s private employer mandate was blocked by the Supreme Court last week.
Still, a number of liberal cities across the United States have launched their own vaccine mandates. In Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser’s mandate requires most businesses and entertainment venues to verify that patrons are vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one shot. Customers will have to show photo ID as proof that their name matches the vaccination card they present for entry.
President Biden himself also issued a statement urging private businesses and states to move forward with the mandate on their own.
“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” Biden said.
“This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or to permit workers to refuse to be vaccinated, so long as they were tested once a week and wore a mask at work: a very modest burden.”
“As a result of the Court’s decision, it is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,” Biden continued.
“The Court has ruled that my administration cannot use the authority granted to it by Congress to require this measure, but that does not stop me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans’ health and economy. I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.”
Author: Lyles Meeker