Vaccine Mandates Clash With Supply Chain Woes


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The most pressing issue facing the trucking and logistic industry is the ongoing supply chain problems that threaten delays and shortages leading into the new year. This problem may also be made much worse by another looming issue – potential vaccine mandates.

Thousands of employees across the country have left their jobs due to employer-imposed vaccine mandates. While debates over vaccine mandates weigh the value of public health, bodily autonomy, personal freedom, the efficacy of the vaccine, and more, it’s clear that many workers are simply saying “no” to a mandate.

While the total number of workers who resign over a mandate may not be much (often less than 1% in many industries), a departure of logistics workers and truck drivers could severely impact an industry already facing a shortage of labor.

The American Trucking Association has sent a letter to the Biden Administration warning of the critical impact a vaccine mandate would have on the supply chain. The letter described the potential effect of the vaccine as “a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve.”

The ATA reiterated that the organization has come out in favor of the vaccine, and the ATA even lobbied to allow truck drivers to get the vaccine early, due to the status of drivers being the same as “essential workers.” But the ATA does not support a mandate that could reduce the workforce, especially at such a crucial time.

The White House, for its part, still claims that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require employers with 100 or more workers mandate vaccines or require negative weekly COVID-19 tests from unvaccinated workers. This would affect over 80 million people in the private sector.

Will the White House rethink its position on mandates in light of the supply chain crisis? Shawn Yadon, the CEO of the California Trucking Association, declared that a “state of emergency” may be warranted due to the unprecedented backlog of ships waiting outside the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

To find out whether the panic around the supply chain and the potential impacts – from holiday gift delays to actual food shortages – will change the course of vaccine mandates, we can only wait and see.