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Truckload Carriers warns of vaccine mandate’s ‘far-reaching implications’

Question raised by the TCA: How can a workforce in a wide range of locations be vaccinated and tested?

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

A second leading trucking trade organization has come out with a statement that doesn’t outright say it opposes the proposed Biden administration’s vaccine mandate but comes very close to it.

Like the earlier statement released by the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, in a letter signed by its chairman, does not take a firm stand declaring that the mandate to vaccinate workers at companies with more than 100 employees is a bad idea. But the statement does say that the mandate “could have wide-reaching implications for our industry and the nation as a whole.”

One specific area of concern mentioned in the statement signed by TCA Chairman Jim Ward, whose day job is president of Maryland-based D.H. Bowman, is the difficulty in vaccinating a workforce of drivers who at any given time are all over the country. That would also extend to testing the unvaccinated, which a company would need to do for that subset of employees. Several other industry officials have described this as a key challenge. 

“Obviously, the logistics of vaccinating an army of professional truck drivers operating in an irregular operating environment remains a strong concern,” Ward said in his note. 

But the bigger concern is the mandate leading to drivers leaving the industry. “A larger fear is that a rule requiring a vaccine or weekly test could lead to a massive driver exodus from this great industry,” Ward wrote. “Already faced with a shrinking pool of drivers from COVID-19 itself, we are all confronted with the pervasive challenge of locating qualified drivers to deliver our nation’s freight safely, effectively and efficiently.”

The ATA statement did not make mention of a large loss of drivers. Rather, it raised another concern that others in the industry have expressed: that the hard cutoff at 100 employees will create a two-tiered system of companies that are required to vaccinate or test and others that won’t.

The ATA did not refer to the possibility of the smaller companies being in a stronger recruiting position, but that is an issue in the industry.

Ward’s note recommended that TCA members reach out to their respective members of the House and Senate “to explain the ramifications this plan could potentially have on our industry.”

“I encourage each of you to reach out to those that govern and tell your story so that we can effectively educate federal decision makers on this concerning issue,” Ward said.

One significant development that was unclear when the mandate was first announced, and which might have particular importance on trucking, is where the 100 employees are measured.

In a recent conference call, Ann Rosenthal, senior adviser at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the 100 employees will be counted companywide, rather than at an individual facility. Her remarks were reported by The National Law Review.

However, there still has not been a full disclosure of all the details of the vaccine mandate.

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  1. Jeff

    This should be required of all businesses. And to hell with the idiots and fools who won’t do it. Then bye bye your out of work. We as a nation have to get ahead of the virus and it’s the unvacvinated who are stopping this full force. We have mandated many other vaccines which has stopped things like polio. Wake up this has nothing to do with your rights but about creating a healthy safe nation.

    1. Mark

      You sir are an uneducated fool… I would advise you to research 3 areas of data before you put your “feelings” ahead of reality. The first being Israel. The highest rate of vaccinated population on earth. The breakout cases make up 88% of the fully vaccinated being now hospitalized and dying. FACT! Then go visit the data from the Philippines, the second highest rate of vaccinated population. Read it look closely at it. You like the science right start reading. And the 3rd to bring it closer to home for ya. Visit Vermont the highest rate of vaccinated population here in the USA. Look at the huge spike in hospitalized residents after the race to get fully vaccinated. Look at the percentage of break thru cases after that state got vaccinated. And also According to our own cdc, asymptomatic spread is a myth! Does not happen, one needs symptoms to spread it. And I’ll end with this, a fully vaccinated person carries 151 times the virual load in their nostrils alone! Than any un vaccinated person does. That’s the science and the truth! If you did your own research on this you would see it yourself! What we have here, is a pandemic of the vaccinated. Look up what A.d.e is and what causes it. If you would read and stop with these opinions and feelings! You might just learn something.

  2. Mike

    Try it, I will park the truck… I have tools and skills, I will go install ceiling fans and outlets for the locals and be just fine. In fact, that is my plan. I’ll be the white guy in the Home Depot parking lot with my home made sign, will work for a fee, I have my own tools, LOL! 😉

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.