Biden touts employer vaccine mandates with top execs from Microsoft, Walgreens
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden praised the effectiveness of employer vaccine mandates Wednesday in a meeting with top executives from companies including Disney, Microsoft, Columbia Sportswear and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
This event was designed to highlight employers who have implemented mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policies in their workforce and how they have significantly improved the vaccination rates of employees.
The meeting came a week after Biden announced sweeping new rules that will require all companies with more than 100 employees to require either vaccination or weekly Covid testing. Businesses that do not comply with the rules could be subject to fines of up to $2,000 per employee.
CNBC was informed by Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear. He said that the company is thrilled with the federal mandate.
He said, “We have had mandate talks internally within the company for many many years.” “Frankly, we welcome the government entering and laying out a structure. It will be very beneficial for the nation. The president has shown great leadership in this area.
Boyle claimed that vaccine regulations, due to be announced in the next weeks, will make it easier for employers to comply with the law. They provide clear guidelines and uniformity across the country.
Boyle stated that for the last several years, we’ve been working under regulations that apply to each city and county. How are we to do that?
Biden and Boyle were joined at the meeting by Microsoft president Brad Smith, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer, and Greg Adams, the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.
The U.S. president Joe Biden, centre, addresses a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Library, Washington, D.C., U.S.A, U.S. on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Getty Images Also in attendance were Business Roundtable President and CEO Josh Bolten, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia President and CEO Madeline Bell, Louisiana State University President William Tate and Molly Moon Neitzel, the founder and CEO of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.| Bloomberg | Getty Images
Also in attendance were Business Roundtable President and CEO Josh Bolten, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia President and CEO Madeline Bell, Louisiana State University President William Tate and Molly Moon Neitzel, the founder and CEO of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.
Biden stated at the beginning of the meeting that vaccinations mean less deaths, hospitalizations, and infections. Biden said, “I look forward working together to overcome this pandemic in order to keep our economy growing.”
Biden stated that the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were drafting the rules. Once implemented, they will have an impact on as many as 80 millions workers.
Biden also signed executive orders requiring all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated.
He also stated vaccine requirements for nearly 17 million healthcare workers who work in facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, such as hospitals and dialysis facilities.
Nearly 100 million Americans will be affected by the new rules.
Biden’s administration sought advice from White House legal and White House counsellors when creating the new rules.
There are many legal and logistical issues that remain.
Many big employers and large institutions across the nation have implemented an array of vaccination requirements and incentives for employees.
At Walgreens, for instance, all office support workers are required to be vaccinated by Sept. 30. The rules regarding hourly staff at drugstores are being reworked.
Sept. 30 is also the deadline for salaried and nonunion employees at Disney to be vaccinated. Unionized employees will have another three weeks, according to the terms of a deal that Walt Disney reached with the Service Trades Council Union in August.
Microsoft is now requiring all visitors to its U.S. office and employees be immunized. However, rules regarding remote workers as well as workers from other countries are being developed.
Republican governors have reacted strongly to Biden’s mandate that vaccines be administered to large and mid-sized employers. They claim it violates state law.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against the requirements Tuesday, claiming a mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees is unconstitutional.