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Missouri farm employers file joint suit against OSHA vaccine mandate

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This week, four agriculture-based companies filed a lawsuit challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency rule vaccine mandate. Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil Company, and Doyle Equipment Manufacturing, announced that they have joined companies across the country in opposition to a vaccine requirement for its employees. 

The emergency temporary standard (ETS) from OSHA mandates that U.S. workers at companies with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated or tested against COVID 19. The rule is expected to disrupt workforces across the country and further stress an already fragile supply chain.

On Friday, Nov. 12, the companies jointly filed a petition for review with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The petition claims OSHA exceeded its statutory authority in implementing the ETS and violated the U.S. Constitution and other laws.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic, our focus has been on employee and customer safety. MFA has implemented multiple safeguards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and we have recommended to employees that consultation with a trusted medical professional is the best path for making informed medical decisions,” said Ernie Verslues, MFA Incorporated President and CEO. “Yet, we also take medical privacy seriously, which is a principle compromised by the mandate. Aside from how the mandate challenges the rights and privacy of employees, the matter of its arbitrary implementation is also a concern and will likely introduce more chaos into the labor markets.”

This is not the first lawsuit brought against OSHA, and will hardly be the last. According to Reuters, “A judicial panel on Tuesday consolidated 34 lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a venue favored by opponents of the rule.” It is believed that these challenges will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The health and safety of our employees and members is of utmost importance as we lead out of the pandemic,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins. “We continue to urge our team to take precautions to protect their health and the health of their families and those we serve. We strongly encourage our employees to consult with their personal physicians in making their decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This medical decision should be up to each individual and their doctor. The Biden administration’s mandate is egregious government overreach that takes away individuals’ rights to make their own medical decisions. It also is an unlawful imposition on private employers and extremely counterproductive to the nation’s economic recovery.”

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have taken extraordinary measures to protect the safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve,” said Jon Ihler, MFA Oil President and CEO. “We have always followed OSHA guidelines, but we are concerned that the vaccine mandate will impose burdensome new requirements on our business. We support vaccination, but we also oppose any rule that restricts the freedom of our employees to make their own personal health decisions.”

“Here at Doyle, we believe in our motto ‘Safety First, Quality Always,’ and the safety of our employees is our top priority,” said Doyle Equipment Manufacturing’s Director of Human Resources Catherine Doyle. “From the start of the pandemic, we’ve taken the health and safety of our employees, customers and vendors seriously. With that said, we feel that our employees should have the freedom to choose for themselves if they want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We have an incredible workforce at Doyle and fear that it will become severely depleted if this mandate goes into effect.”

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