HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. (KMIZ)
Doolittle Trailer Manufacturing Inc. told ABC 17 News it signed onto the lawsuit against the federal vaccine requirement so employees wouldn't feel like they need to leave the company.
Doolittle Trailer is one of four private entities signed onto the Missouri Attorney General's lawsuit against the federal vaccine mandate, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing by Jan. 4. The other private signees are the Christian Employers Alliance, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools and the Home School Legal Defense Association. There are also 10 other states on the lawsuit.
Kyle Caraway, director of marketing at Dootlitte Trailer, said the Holts Summit-based company is one of the top trailer supply companies in the nation. Doolittle Trailer employs between 150 and 200 people that come from all over Central Missouri.
"It's always a challenge finding qualified candidates, and it seems like recently that's become more of a thing," Caraway said.
While Doolittle Trailer continues to be affected by side effects of the pandemic such as supply-chain shortages and difficulty hiring, the company was worried about losing employees due to the federal vaccine mandate.
"There has been an overwhelming majority of people indicate that they would not be in support of the mandated vaccine or the vaccine mandate, and they indicated that they would most likely no longer work here," Caraway said.
The lawsuit is essentially asking a federal court to look over the OSHA requirement and make it illegal. Lawyers have filed a motion for stay and expedited process in the lawsuit, which means the vaccine requirement would not be enforceable until a decision is made in the case.
Under the federal vaccine requirement, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would fine employers who are willfully not following the mandate. The Associated Press reports fine could be as big as $14,000.
President Joe Biden said in a statement his previous vaccine requirements for the military and federal contractors have significantly decreased the number of unvaccinated Americans.
“While I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good,” Biden said.
Biden also said previous mandates have not led to mass firings or worker shortages.
Doolittle Trailer said it hopes to avoid losing workers by giving them the choice to vaccinate or not.
"The last thing we want to do is make our employees feel like they're being singled out or isolated for whatever choice it is they make whether they get vaccinated or not vaccinated," Caraway said. "So we feel like we feel that standing behind their right to choose helps them feel supported and protected and hopefully encourages them to stay and continue to be a team member here to do little."