HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. (KMIZ)
Doolittle Trailer Manufacturing Inc. tells ABC 17 the Supreme Court ruling blocking the vaccine mandate for large workplaces was a sigh of relief.
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the COVID-19 vaccine mandate lawsuits Thursday afternoon, nine days after the mandate was set to go into place for nearly 80 million workers. SCOTUS blocked the vaccine or testing requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees, but the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers is still in place.
Doolittle Trailer is one of four private entities signed onto the Missouri Attorney General's lawsuit against the federal vaccine mandate; the others are Christian Employers Alliance, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools and the Home School Legal Defense Association.
Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court released an opinion on Thursday saying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was overstepping when it issued a requirement that workplaces with 100 or more employees require vaccination or weekly testing by Jan. 4.
"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category," the opinion said.
However, several liberal Supreme Court justices released a dissenting opinion. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said blocking the vaccine mandate was "not wise."
"In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed," their opinion reads. "As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible."
However, the court allowed the vaccine mandate for health care workers implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to stay in place. This requires the COVID vaccine for workers in hospitals, nursing homes and any other facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Doolittle Trailer's involvment in lawsuit
Kyle Caraway, director of marketing at Dootlitte Trailer, first spoke with ABC 17 in November when the lawsuit was initially filed. In November, Caraway said the company signed onto the lawsuit because it was worried about losing employees if the vaccine requirement went into place.
"As we stated before, we knew that we would experience a significant drop in the size of our team because we supported our team members' right to choose for themselves, how they were going to protect themselves and their families," Caraway said.
Doolittle Trailer employs between 150 and 200 people in Holts Summit and surrounding areas. However, Caraway said with supply-chain issues and other challenges caused by the pandemic, the company has been under stress.
"Given all these supply chain shortages, shipping delays and things like that we're experiencing now we just did this, when this vaccine mandate went through," Caraway said. "Well, we knew it would cause even more problems."
Attorney General's response to ruling
Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he was the first state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the OSHA requirement.
“Earlier this afternoon, the United States Supreme Court halted the OSHA private employer vaccine mandate, a massive win for millions of workers and businesses across the country, including Doolittle Manufacturing here in Missouri, who would’ve had to shutter their doors if this mandate was not halted," Schmitt said in a press release.
Schmitt said he will continue to fight the health care worker vaccine mandate.
"We’re committed to ensuring that rural hospitals and nursing homes continue to stay open and provide critical care to Missourians, and we will not give up this fight," Schmitt said.