Feds ‘should not have the power’ to force employers to vaccinate employees, NC labor commissioner says

COVID-19 Vaccine

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina’s labor commissioner said his already overwhelmed compliance officers will face an even larger workload due to the new OSHA vaccine mandate for large employers.

The federal government on Thursday announced new vaccine requirements for workers at companies with more than 100 employees as well as for workers at health care facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients. It also extended a deadline for federal contractors.

Commissioner Josh Dobson said the new mandate could keep his OSH compliance officers from being able to “achieve our core mission responsibilities.”

“Our compliance officers should be spending their time working with employers to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities at construction sites and manufacturing facilities rather than knocking on doors to check an employer’s vaccine records,” Dobson said.

The commissioner said that since March 2020, North Carolina Department of Labor staff has been overwhelmed by nearly 5,000 COVID-19 complaints.

More complaints came with the vaccine mandate for health care workers in June.

Dobson said trying to enforce the new OSHA mandate without additional federal funding or compliance officers will keep his officers from doing what they need to do in the state.

Outside of his department, Dobson said the mandate would put a burden on employers who are “experiencing an unprecedented worker shortage.”

“Many large employers already require vaccines for their employees, and I respect that decision. However, the federal government should not have the power to make that decision for employers and employees,” Dobson said.

The commissioner said employers risk losing “experienced and capable employees” if the mandate survives legal challenges.

Dobson said he is vaccinated and strongly encourages his employees to be vaccinated as well.

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