A staffing agency that works with job seekers and companies looking to hire is celebrating its 20th year in business while facing the uncertainty of the Biden administration’s COVD-19 vaccine mandate for private employers.
In addition to its own employees to consider, the Austin-based company sees concern among both his own workers, and from his company’s clients, HT Group CEO Mark Turpin says.
Turpin’s HT Staffing has about 50 full-time employees and about 300 contractors. So, it will still be responsible for complying with the mandate implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if it goes into effect, he said in an interview.
“This was done without much foresight,” Turpin told The Daily Signal. “They didn’t think about how this affects staffing companies. … This could be a logistical nightmare. Who pays for the test for everybody every week?”
The vaccine mandate would require businesses and other organizations with 100 or more employees to make sure their workers either are fully vaccinated or provide weekly test results showing that they do not have COVID-19.
HT Staffing joined other employers as well as state attorneys general in a broad lawsuit challenging OSHA’s emergency rule implementing the mandate. Counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation is representing the company in the case filed in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is led by five Republican attorneys general.
Multiple other litigants have sued in other federal courts to stop the mandate from going into effect.
Companies and other organizations with 100 or more employees have until Jan. 4 to comply with the vaccine rule. Employees that don’t get COVID-9 shots may opt for the weekly testing.
The mandate, which would cover at least 84.2 million Americans working for about 164,000 different businesses and other organizations, could pose a significant challenge and might rely on employees’ snitching on bosses and colleagues.
“We don’t want anyone to lose their job over the vaccination. We are also worried about what our clients lose,” Turpin said. “Several of our clients have over 100 employees.”
After the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on the mandate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, on Wednesday suspended enforcement of the emergency temporary rule until the court rules.
HT Staffing operates in 10 different states from 75 locations.
“We have long-standing contracts. It’s not like we just produce things off the shelf,” Turpin said. “We have a contract at a set rate. We are spread out. This is a bigger burden for a staffing company than for a company with 500 employees in one location.”
Other staffing firms reportedly suing include Burnett Specialists, Choice Staffing, Staff Force Inc., and LeadingEdge Personnel Ltd.
Turpin stresses that opposition to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate is not opposition to the vaccines.
“We are pro-vaccine. Our staff is about 99% vaccinated,” Turpin said, adding: “We believe it’s an employer’s right to require vaccines if they choose. Some of our clients do.”
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