The United States Postal Service (USPS) has formally requested a temporary waiver from Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, pointing out that such a restriction could lead to an exodus of many employees and a subsequent disruption of the supply chain.
Fox Business reports that Deputy Postmaster General Douglas Tulino sent a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on January 4th with his request, as OSHA is the primary entity responsible for implementation and enforcement of the nationwide mandates on federal contractors. Those that refuse to comply with vaccination will either have to submit regular negative tests for the Chinese coronavirus, or else face penalties such as fines or a decrease in funding.
Tulino warned in his letter that such a mandate “is likely to result in the loss of many employees — either by employees leaving or being disciplined – particularly given the higher level of temporary employees at this time of year.”
“We respectfully suggest that the nation cannot afford the additional potential substantial harm that would be engendered if the ability of the Postal Service to deliver mail and packages is significantly negatively impacted,” Tulino’s letter continued. “Given our essential role to the nation, particularly during these challenging times, we believe that it is critical to avoid disruption to our vital operations. For that reason, we are seeking temporary relief from the ETS and maintenance of the status quo on an interim basis.”
Tulino’s request asks for OSHA to extend the mandate deadline by 120 days, and also to suspend USPS’s mandate obligations until the federal courts issue their final rulings on the constitutionality of the vaccine mandates. The mandate was scheduled to take effect on January 10th, but OSHA has said it will not begin penalizing violations until February 9th.
“While the legal validity of the ETS is currently being challenged in federal court,” Tulino continued, “the Postal Service is taking several steps to ensure it can fully comply with the requirements of the ETS, as quickly as possible, assuming the ETS is upheld.”
All of Biden’s nationwide mandates are currently facing legal challenges, and some have been indefinitely blocked by lower courts. While the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately ruled in favor of the mandate for private businesses with 100 employees or more, the mandate for healthcare workers has been halted by federal judges in Louisiana and Missouri. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of the mandates, and presumably issue the final verdict on whether or not they can be carried out.