The American Trucking Associations (ATA) warned on Wednesday at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing that more than 2.5 million truckers plan to quit if the Biden administration does not reverse course on the Covid-19 vaccine mandate – which could worsen the supply chain crisis that is already taking a toll on the nation.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear testified at the House hearing that a “sample survey of fleets” conducted by the organization revealed “37 percent of drivers not only said ‘no’, but ‘hell no'” to the White House vaccine mandate. That’s 2.5 million truckers who could potentially quit the workforce.
To make matters worse, Spear revealed that the pandemic already left them 80,000 workers short compared to pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, losing 2.5 million truckers would be “catastrophic,” he said.
“We’ve tried to be very clear to the administration; I understand the logic behind it, but if you do this, these are the consequences,” Spear said. “So if you’re trying to solve the supply chain problem, you’re actually compounding it and actually hurting the very problem that you’re trying to fix on the vaccine side.”
Spear added he doesn’t think OSHA holds legal jurisdiction to enforce inoculation mandates. “Be careful what you wish for,” he warned.
Spear told representatives at the hearing that freight truckers, who move approximately 72.5 percent of “domestic freight” in the nation, are already treated deplorably. Vaccine mandates are only making matters worse.
He anticipates economic costs and increased inflation with a worsened trucker worker shortage. “Penalizing people is not going to speed it up, in my opinion,” Spear said, referring to the supply chain crisis.
“Over 80 percent of communities in this nation are exclusively dependent on trucks to deliver goods,” Spears added.
Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, member of the House Armed Services Committee, informed Fox Business that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach account for “40 percent of all the imports coming in” with a “24 hour a day, 7 day a week schedule”. Despite this, excessive regulations in California has caused more harm than good and contributed in part to the supply chain crisis witnessed in one of the nation’s largest supply chain ports.
This warning comes as the ATA and other groups representing “various facets of the supply chain” filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over “employer-based COVID-19 vaccine mandate” in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Nov. 10.
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), Mark Allen, also previously warned vaccine mandates would worsen the existing supply chain crisis.
To this regard, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped up to the plate to help sort the backlog of cargo ships that had been waiting to dock and unload at California’s ports for months, but states can only go so far without federal intervention.
It is evident that now it is up to Congress and the courts to do what they can to change course of the Biden administration’s controversial and potentially disastrous policies before it is too late.