Thursday, September 30, 2021

Is 'The Great Resignation' Coming?

Will a vaccine mandate trigger the Great Resignation?

Biden’s wide-ranging vaccine mandate will affect tens of millions of U.S. workers, but experts, labor unions and business groups are divided on what impact the rule will have.

While experts disagree on whether the federal mandate, which applies to the majority of the U.S. workforce, may lead to mass resignations, the rule will at the very least disrupt workplaces nationwide, Erik Eisenmann, a partner at the national law firm Husch Blackwell, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I think one of the effects that you will see over the next month, as more and more businesses roll out mandates is that there’s going to be a shrinking population that are still objecting,” Eisenmann said in an interview. “I’m probably bearish on the idea that you’re going to have mass resignations that are going to be disruptive.”

On Sept. 9, Biden authorized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to craft a rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate workers to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit weekly tests proving they aren’t infected with the virus. It is unclear if the rule, which hasn’t yet been published, will include a requirement that employers pay for the weekly tests.

More than 80 million Americans, or over half of the U.S. working population, work for a business that has more than 100 employees, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Eisenmann, who primarily represents employers on labor and employment issues, added that Biden’s order may have the effect of helping businesses who wanted to issue a vaccine mandate, but didn’t, fearing workers would leave for a different job. Because of its breadth, the rule evens the playing field and limits the options for workers seeking to quit, he said.

‘Not acceptable’

Several labor unions, however, have forcefully condemned vaccine mandates, which they said stripped workers of their civil liberties. Many have warned of major consequences including potential mass resignations.

“Any staffing shortage, especially during a pandemic, is a threat to the health and safety of both students and personnel,” Mark Cannizzaro, president of New York City’s largest union representing school administrators and principals, said in a statement Thursday.

“It is dangerous and irresponsible for the city to move forward with its plan to allow schools and centers to operate so severely understaffed,” he continued. “As a result, we are calling on the city to delay the deadline for the mandate to allow the city to develop a reasonable contingency plan.”

In July, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a vaccine mandate for all 400,000 public employees. Several unions quickly criticized the mandate and the New York Police Department’s largest union even threatened to sue.

Mandates are not acceptable. People should have a choice,” New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Service Union President Oren Barzilay told the DCNF. “There are still many unknowns about this vaccine. The government is simply doubling down so they don’t lose face with their agenda.”

Barzilay added that many members of his union were prepared to quit if there was no testing option to the New York City mandate.

A Massachusetts police union, meanwhile, said dozens of state troopers have already resigned over a vaccine mandate requiring all state employees to get vaccinated, NPR reportedMonday. The mandate, imposed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker last month, said state workers who refused vaccination would be fired.

In San Diego, roughly 45% of police officers said they would prefer to be fired than comply with a city mandate to receive a vaccine, according to a San Diego Police Officers Association internal survey, the ABC affiliate KGTV reported. The Portland police union said it opposed a vaccine mandate, citing potential resignations.

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