As consumer prices trend upward and supply chain interruptions threaten to leave shelves bare, Americans are faced with the prospect of a dire holiday season this year.
New warnings from the nation’s trucking industry indicate that the situation could become even worse.
“Will create a workforce crisis”
According to reports, industry insiders argue that President Joe Biden’s sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates could cause an implosion of already strained domestic supply chains.
Last month, the president announced that he would require private companies with more than 100 employees to enact vaccine mandates or regular COVID-19 testing for all workers. At that time, he insisted that “first adopters have seen very strong compliance” with federal requirements.
A letter from the American Trucking Associations, however, indicates that the private sector could breed widespread resistance to such mandates.
As it stands, the organization indicates that roughly half of its truckers have not yet received a vaccine — and as many as 25% of them are prepared to walk off the job rather than take the jab. Those startling figures become even more ominous in light of the fact that the industry is already understaffed by about 80,000 drivers.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear wrote that Biden’s requirement “will create a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve.”
“When the supply chain is so fragile”
Furthermore, Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen posited that vaccine mandates are arguably unnecessary since truckers spend most of their time on the job alone.
“The last thing we need right now is drivers exiting this industry because of a mandate when the supply chain is so fragile,” he said.
Of course, the president does not seem too concerned about any of these nuances. Vaccine mandates have already led to an exodus in other industries — including law enforcement — as Biden shrugs off mass firings and resignations.
National Association of Small Trucking Companies President David Owen addressed his concerns during a press conference alongside U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and others.
“I don’t think the receiving public understands that trucks have to run every day,” he said. “Every day — nonstop. They can’t miss a day. Drivers can’t miss a day. You’re already seeing shortages in the grocery stores; you’re going to see shortages in fuel.”