There is praise and criticism following President Joe Biden’s executive orders requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for approximately 100 million American workers.
Large employers in North Texas are considering their next steps and how they will implement mandates for workers who do not wish to be vaccinated.
At El Rancho de Garland supermarket, safety comes with sacrifices.
They offered employees $ 200 incentives to get vaccinated against the virus.
“We do it because we care about the community. We want the community to be open and we want it to be safe and we want to work in a safe environment, ”said Vice President of Operations Guillermo Washington.
The large North Texas employer with multiple locations welcomes President Biden’s directive.
Private employers with 100 or more workers are soon to require that employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine or be tested weekly.
The mandate led the discussion at a congressional panel hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber on Friday.
Members of the North Texas congressional delegation discussed several topics, including budget, infrastructure, health and workforce issues.
Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson, Marc Veasey, Colin Allred and Beth Van Duyne were in attendance.
“I don’t think the president wanted to do this,” Rep. Allred said of the sweep warrants. “I think it was something that was forced on him.”
The delegation was asked to weigh in on the fact that the American Hospital Association said that the president’s policy “could exacerbate the serious problems of labor shortages that currently exist.”
“I don’t see this as a problem because you don’t have to get vaccinated with this order,” Allred said. “You can also do weekly tests. It is a matter of public health. “
The Texas Restaurant Association is also voicing concerns, releasing a statement saying:
“Texas restaurants share President Biden’s goal of increasing the number of fully vaccinated Americans to fight the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we need to recognize the burden the new mandate places on an industry that is already seeing its strenuous recovery reversed due to a severe labor shortage, with food costs rising at their pace. faster in seven years and declining income. To make matters worse, the announcement comes in the same month as a tax credit that helps restaurants and other small businesses grant paid time off to employees getting a COVID-19 vaccine is currently on the verge of being released. expire.
“Adding additional taxes and regulations now at a time when you’re already struggling to hire people to keep your doors open, I think that’s exactly the opposite direction we need to go,” said representative Van Duyne.
Healthcare consulting firm PCS Advisors helps medium and large businesses across the country manage healthcare costs.
“You have 28% of American employees who say they are ready to lose their jobs before they get vaccinated. I don’t think that has changed as a result of the president’s speech yesterday, ”said Paul Seegert, Managing Partner at PCS Advisors.
Seegert told NBC 5 that his clients in North Texas are “not thrilled” with the warrants.
There are still many unresolved issues with implementing the policy, including additional costs such as weekly testing.
“Who’s paying for it,” Seegert asks.
PCS warns its customers of their additional liability if they defy the decree.
“The advertised penalties of $ 14,000 per offense are so severe that I think most [employers] will go reluctantly if they are not in favor of it for fear of this massive penalty, ”he said. “It’s something employers should take seriously. We’ve seen companies that haven’t taken the Affordable Care Act and the reporting requirements that go with it seriously. They thought they would never reach me and they are getting notices today. The government collects billions of dollars in ACA fines.
It is a risk that some are not prepared to take.
“When the law requires it, we will follow the law,” Washington said.
The president also issued vaccination warrants for other workers. It includes most federal government employees, such as the 17 million nursing home and hospital workers who receive Medicare and Medicaid funds. Federal Head Start and Early Head Start program staff are also included in the mandate.