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Article

26 Nov 2021

Author:
Lauren Hirsch, New York Times,
Author:
Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times

USA: National Retail Federation sues to stop vaccine mandate amid holiday staffing crunch

"Why Retailers Are Fighting a Vaccine Mandate Before the Holidays", 25 November 2021

...As other industries with workers in public-facing roles, like airlines and hospitals, have moved toward requiring vaccines, retailers have dug in their heels, citing concerns about a labor shortage. And a portion of one of the country’s largest work forces will remain unvaccinated, just as shoppers are expected to flock to stores...

...“We have a lot of stores that have a lot of openings, and any ruling that we have to mandate those colleagues be vaccinated prior to Christmas is just going to exacerbate our labor shortage going into a really critical period for us,” Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief executive, said in an interview.

The industry showed how strongly it feels about the issue this month when the Biden administration directed companies with 100 or more workers to mandate vaccines or weekly tests by Jan. 4. Five days after that announcement, the National Retail Federation sued to stop the effort...

...The order is now held up in litigation, challenged by a number of lawsuits from a broad coalition of opponents, and could make its way to the Supreme Court. Court filings by the administration warn that blocking the rule would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”...

...the federation...has said it wants to move the deadline back several months...

...Many health experts say employee mandates are the only way to help the country emerge from the pandemic...

...“I think employers are embarrassed and ashamed by what they are objecting to and therefore use the N.R.F. as a cover,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union....

...Last week, a number of health groups and experts, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, put out a statement imploring companies to move forward with the Labor Department rules...