GE suspends Covid vaccine, take a look at guidelines after excessive courtroom nixes Biden mandate

An employee helps install a traction motor on the truck of a General Electric Evolution Series Tier 4 diesel locomotive at the GE Manufacturing Solutions facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Luke Sharret | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Electric suspended its Covid vaccine and testing requirements on Friday after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s mandate, a company spokesman told CNBC.

GE, which had 174,000 employees at the end of 2020, has encouraged its employees to get vaccinated, the spokesman said.

The conservative majority of the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision, called the Biden administration’s requirements a “blunt instrument” that “makes no distinctions by industry or risk of exposure to Covid-19.”

In a statement following the court decision, President Joe Biden urged companies to voluntarily implement the vaccination and testing rules.

“The court has ruled that my administration cannot use the authority granted to it by Congress to require this action,” Biden said. “But that doesn’t stop me from using my voice as president to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect the health and economy of Americans.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has vowed to use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s existing power to hold companies accountable for protecting workers from Covid.

“We urge all employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly to most effectively combat this deadly virus in the workplace,” Walsh said in a statement Thursday. “Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers in the workplace.”

The American Medical Association, one of the largest medical associations in the US, contradicted that the Supreme Court blocked “one of the most effective tools in the fight against further transmission and death from this aggressive virus”.

“Workplace transmission has been an important factor in the spread of Covid-19,” said AMA President Dr. Gerald Harmon. “More than ever, workers in all settings across the country need sound, evidence-based protection from Covid-19 infection, hospitalization and death.”

Harmon urged companies to protect their workers from the disease. A number of large companies – including Citigroup, Nike and Columbia Sportswear – have announced plans to lay off unvaccinated workers.

The Covid-Omicron variant is driving new infections to unprecedented levels. The US is reporting an average of more than 786,000 new infections each day, a 29% increase from the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Additionally, based on federal data going back to the summer of 2020, hospitalizations are at a pandemic high. About 151,000 Americans were in hospitals with Covid as of Friday, a seven-day moving average of health and social services data shows, up 23%. from a week earlier. That number includes both patients who have been admitted to hospital due to Covid and those who have tested positive after admission.

— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report

Supreme Courtroom blocks Biden Covid vaccine mandate for companies, permits health-care employee rule

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its comprehensive vaccination or testing requirements for large private companies, but allowed a vaccination mandate for medical facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments.

The verdicts came three days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency measures for companies went into effect.

The mandate required workers in companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or present a negative Covid test weekly to enter the workplace. Also, unvaccinated workers were required to wear masks when working indoors.

“Although Congress has undeniably granted OSHA authority to regulate occupational hazards, it has not conferred that agency authority to regulate public health more broadly,” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

“Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans selected solely because they work for employers with more than 100 employees certainly falls into the latter category,” the court wrote.

A protester holds a “Freedoms & Mandates Don’t Mix” sign in front of the US Supreme Court Friday, January 7, 2022 while discussing two federal vaccination measures in Washington, DC, United States.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan disagreed, writing that the majority had usurped power from Congress, the President and OSHA without legal basis.

“With the pandemic still raging, this court is telling the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all required workplaces,” they said in dissent.

“As sickness and death continue to rise, this court is telling the Authority that it cannot respond as effectively as possible. Without a legal basis, the court usurps a decision that rightfully belongs to others. It undermines the capacity of appropriate federal officials to act well within their authority to protect American workers from serious danger,” they wrote.

President Joe Biden said in a statement the Supreme Court chose to block requirements that are life-saving for workers. Biden called on states and companies to increase and voluntarily implement vaccination requirements to protect workers, customers and the broader community.

“The Court has ruled that my administration cannot use the powers granted to it by Congress to require this action, but that does not prevent me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing, to protect the health and economy of Americans,” Biden said.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh called the court’s decision a major setback to the health and safety of workers and vowed OSHA would use its existing authority to ensure companies protect workers. The American Medical Association, one of the largest medical associations in the country, said it was “deeply disappointed”.

“In the face of an ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic that poses a grave threat to the health of our nation, the Supreme Court today halted one of the most powerful tools in the fight against further transmission and death from this aggressive virus,” the AMA said said President Gerald Harmon.

In a separate ruling released at the same time on the government’s vaccination rules for healthcare workers, a 5-4 majority sided with the Biden administration.

“We agree with the government that the [Health and Human Services] The secretary’s rule falls within the powers conferred on him by Congress,” said the majority, writing that the rule “fits very well with the language of the statute”.

“Finally, ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: First, do no harm,” says the majority opinion.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, four of the six Conservatives on the nine-seat bench, disagreed.

“I don’t think the federal government is likely to show that Congress authorized the unprecedented move to force over 10,000,000 healthcare workers to be vaccinated under threat of dismissal,” Alito wrote in his dissent.

Biden said in a statement that making vaccinations compulsory for healthcare workers will save the lives of patients, doctors and nurses. “We will enforce it,” the president said of the mandate.

OSHA, which oversees workplace safety for the Department of Labor, granted the business mandate under its emergency powers established by Congress. OSHA can cut short the normal rulemaking process, which can take years, when the Secretary of Labor determines that a new occupational safety standard is needed to protect workers from a serious hazard.

CNBC Policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

The court’s decision to overturn the business mandate comes as the pandemic rages across the United States and the highly contagious Omicron variant is sparking an unprecedented surge in new infections. The US is reporting an average of 786,000 new infections daily, a pandemic record and a 37% increase from last week, according to CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Hospital admissions have also reached a pandemic peak, according to federal data dating back to the summer of 2020. According to a seven-day average of Department of Health and Human Services data, 149,000 Americans are in US hospitals with Covid, a 27% increase. last week.

The vaccination or testing rules have faced a number of lawsuits from 27 states involving Republican attorneys general or governors, private companies, religious groups and national business organizations such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NRF issued a statement calling the Supreme Court ruling a “victory” and calling on the Biden administration to “reject this unlawful mandate and instead work with employers, workers and public health professionals on practical ways to increase immunization rates and contain it.” the spread of the virus in 2022.”

The mandates were the most extensive use of power by the federal government to protect workers from Covid since the pandemic began. Taken together, the Biden administration estimated that the rules for businesses and healthcare workers would apply to about 100 million Americans.

But both rules were in flux long before the Supreme Court adopted them. The OSHA rules were blocked by a conservative federal appeals court in November, then Reinstated weeks later by another court.

The White House at the time urged companies to follow public safety requirements even if they were not enforced.

Some companies have done this, others have introduced their own rules. A number of large employers, including Citigroup, Nike and Columbia Sportswear, have announced plans to lay off unvaccinated workers in recent days.

— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.

Biden administration defends vaccine mandates in Supreme Court docket arguments

A protester holds a banner at a rally against mandates for the vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in front of the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York, the United States, Jan. 5, 2022.

Facebook Facebook logo Sign up on Facebook to connect with Mike Segar Reuters

The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on Friday on two cases that challenged the Biden government’s Covid vaccination and testing requirements for private companies and healthcare workers.

The arguments, which began at 10 a.m. ET, began with a lawyer for a national small business group arguing against private business regulations that would apply to tens of millions of workers.

National Federation of Independent Business attorney Scott Keller was grilled by the court’s three Liberal justices who sometimes sounded incredulous at the proposal to end workplace health care while Covid cases reached new heights.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts asked Keller why the Department of Labor was not empowered to regulate the “special job problem” caused by the pandemic.

Roberts is likely an indispensable voice for the rules of the Biden administration in order to survive the Conservative 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court.

A protester holds a sign reading “Freedoms & Mandates Don’t Mix” in front of the US Supreme Court during the dispute over two federal coronavirus vaccine mandate measures in Washington, DC, USA on Friday, January 7, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The debate on whether the federal government has the power to enforce the comprehensive public health requirements comes before the Supreme Court when the global pandemic enters its third year.

Challenges to the rules include business associations, Republican-led states, and religious groups. Urgent rulings are expected relatively soon.

For companies with 100 or more employees, the rule of the occupational health and safety administration applies, which stipulates that employees must be vaccinated or tested for Covid on a weekly basis. The Department of Health’s rule would require vaccination for medical personnel in facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The two mandates cover about two-thirds of all US workers – about 100 million Americans, according to the White House.

president Joe Biden issued The mandates in early November, weeks before the first evidence of the highly transmissible Omikron variant, drove infection rates across the country to breathtaking new highs.

Days later, the U.S. 5th District Court of Appeals blocks the mandate from taking effect for companies, with a three-person committee that saw its requirements as “astonishingly broad”.

But another federal appeals court the rule reintroduced in Decemberwho noted that OSHA has had a great deal of leeway in the past to enact safety measures and highlights the danger posed by the pandemic to workers.

Early data suggests that omicron infections are typically less severe than previous iterations of the coronavirus, although vaccination remains an effective protection against hospitalization and death from Covid. Health experts say.

All nine Supreme Court justices have been vaccinated against Covid and all have received a booster. The court heard arguments in favor of much of the pandemic remotely and broadcast the proceedings via livestream for the first time in its history. They returned for a personal battle last October while keeping the building closed to the public and implementation of other pandemic-related security measures.

This is a developing story. Check again for updates.

Biden says Covid surge must be solved at state stage, vows full federal assist

United States President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and private sector CEOs in the South Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

president Joe Biden on Monday pledged to support governors struggling with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but admitted that states must take the lead in controlling the pandemic.

Shortly before a meeting with some of the country’s governors, Biden said: “There is no federal solution. This will be resolved at the state level. “

These comments constitute one of the Biden’s government’s most prominent admissions to date that it is in its efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The president may be concerned that federal initiatives to contain the virus cannot be effective without the help of states. The comments could also be an attempt to put additional pressure on governors to play a bigger role in fighting the disease.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for clarification.

After his remarks, Biden asked whether he supported revised recommendations for reduced quarantine times.

“I rely on my medical team. I get a recommendation, I follow it,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched theirs Recommendations for people who may have been exposed to the virus. Instead of the recommended standard 14-day quarantine, the CDC says suspected exposures should result in a 10 or seven day quarantine based on test results and symptoms.

The Omicron variant poses a multi-faceted threat to Biden, who advocates the federal government’s ability to contain the pandemic. The president on Monday reiterated some of the promises he made last week, including the federal government’s purchase of 500 million rapid coronavirus tests.

“My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” he said. “We’ll keep your back free as best we can.”

The government plans to distribute the tests to Americans for free, support more vaccination and testing centers, and deploy 1,000 military medics to increase hospital staff nationwide.

But the virus’ ability to mutate, spread, and occasionally result in positive cases in those who received a vaccine has made the government’s promise to slow the disease down difficult. The virus and vaccine have both blossomed into political football. Many Americans, especially those who support former President Donald Trump, refuse to get vaccinated.

Given the nationwide differences in attitudes towards the virus and public safety priorities, governors’ responses to the Biden government’s efforts have been mixed.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, an implementing regulation in. enact October prohibits all entities, including private companies, from from the imposition of Covid-19 vaccination obligations on employees or customers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considered a Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has been breaking away from federal public health guidelines and restricting mask and vaccine mandates in recent months.

The Biden government has been stressing for weeks that Americans should be extra careful during the 2021 holiday season to protect their families from the spread of the disease.

The president’s remarks came as Covid-19 cases spiked over the Christmas holiday weekend.

The highly contagious variant of Omicron has reported more coronavirus cases in a handful of states, including New Jersey and New York, in the past week than any other seven-day period during the pandemic.

While initial signs suggest the variant could cause milder symptoms, health experts are calling for strict public safety protocols, saying that the variant’s rapid spread could put strain on the US hospital system and lead to more deaths.

“Every day it goes up and up. The last weekly average was around 150,000 and it will likely go much higher,” said US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said “This Week” on the ABC show on Sunday.

On Wednesday, before the holiday weekend disrupted Covid trackers, the seven-day national average of new daily cases topped 176,000, a 44% increase over the past 14 days. The number of deaths also rose during this period from 1,103 to a seven-day average of 1,213.

CNBC policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

Federal court docket reinstates Biden administration’s enterprise vaccine mandate

United States President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, USA on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A federal appeals court reinstated the Biden government’s vaccine and testing requirements for private companies, which include some 80 million American workers.

The Cincinnati 6th Court of Appeal’s ruling overturned a November restraining order that blocked the Labor Protection Agency’s rule that applies to companies with 100 or more employees.

In Friday’s ruling, the court found that OSHA “has demonstrated the pervasive danger that COVID-19 poses to workers – especially those who have not been vaccinated – in their workplaces.

The Justice Department argued last week that blocking the requests would do “enormous” damage to the public as hospitals prepare for an increase in Covid cases this winter and the heavily mutated Omicron variant gaining a foothold in more states.

“COVID-19 is spreading to workplaces and workers are being hospitalized and dying,” the Justice Department argued in a court file on Friday. “As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and a new variant has emerged, the threat to workers is persistent and overwhelming.”

The policy required companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated by Jan 4th or have a negative Covid test weekly to enter the workplace. Unvaccinated workers were required to wear masks indoors from December 5th.

Republican attorneys general, private companies, and industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, American Trucking Associations, and the National Federation of Independent Business sued for repeal of the policy. They argued that the requirements are unnecessary, place compliance costs on businesses, and exceed the powers of the federal government.

The Biden administration stopped implementing and enforcing the requirements last month to comply with an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th District in New Orleans. Judge Kurt D. Englehardt said in an opinion for a three-person committee that the requirements were “surprisingly too broad” and raised “serious constitutional concerns”.

The more than two dozen lawsuits filed against the vaccine and testing requirements were transferred to the Sixth Circuit last month after the Biden government launched a cross-district judicial process to randomly consolidate the case in a single court.

The Justice Department argued in its trial last week that the labor protection agency that developed the requirements acted within their emergency powers established by Congress. The Biden government rejected opponents who claimed workers were quitting because of the policy, saying the compliance costs were “modest”.

“The threat to people’s life and health also far outweighs petitioners’ suspicions about the number of workers who may quit instead of getting vaccinated or tested,” the Justice Department wrote on its file, arguing that many workers are who say they will stop completing in the end with vaccination orders.

OSHA, which oversees occupational safety for the Department of Labor, developed the vaccine and testing requirements under emergency powers that allow the agency to shorten the normal rulemaking process, which can take years. OSHA may issue an emergency workplace safety standard if the Secretary of Labor determines that a standard is required to protect workers from serious danger.

The White House has repeatedly argued that Covid poses a serious threat to workers, highlighting the appalling death toll from the pandemic and rising Covid infections in the United States

Reuters contributed to this report.

This breaking news. Please check again for updates.

Biden says his administration will do ‘no matter is required’ to assist states reeling from tornadoes

United States President Joe Biden speaks about the deadly tornadoes that struck Kentucky on December 11, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

president Joe Biden said his government stood by and ready to do “whatever it takes” after several dozen people were killed in a swarm of powerful tornadoes and storms that swept across six states from Friday night.

“The federal government will do everything it can to help,” Biden said during a press conference on Saturday from Wilmington, Delaware.

“I promise you whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government will find a way to deliver it,” added Biden.

Irene Noltner comforts Jody O’Neill in front of the Lighthouse, a women’s and children’s home that was destroyed by a tornado on December 11, 2021, along with much of downtown Mayfield, Kentucky, USA.

Matt stone | USA Today | Reuters

Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee were hit by more than 30 tornadoes. Biden said FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is on site in each of the six states to assess the damage.

At least 70 people have died in Kentucky, and the number could climb to more than 100. Governor Andy Beshear said he believed the tornado will be the deadliest to ever hit the state. More than 180 National Guardsmen are stationed in areas in western Kentucky, the hardest-hit part of the state.

A woman exits a line of ambulances on the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory property after it was devastated by a tornado on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Kentucky.

John Amis | AFP | Getty Images

“All government resources are used,” said Michael Dossett, director of emergency management for Kentucky, at a news conference.

The president approved the Kentucky state of emergency earlier in the day and added on Saturday afternoon that he was ready to approve proposals for the other states.

In Illinois there were at least two people after one Amazon Edwardsville warehouse collapsed.

Amazon truck cabs are seen in front of a damaged Amazon distribution center on December 11, 2021 in Edwardsville, Illinois. The distribution center was reportedly hit by a tornado on Friday evening.

Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said on Twitter that the company was “unhappy” about the deaths.

“As this situation continues to develop, I want our Edwardsville community to know that we are working closely with local officials and first responders to provide support. My deepest condolences go to the Amazon community and all concerned, ”he said.

At least three people were killed in the storms in Tennessee, said a spokesman for the state emergency management agency Associated Press. According to the New York Times, two people were fatally injured in Arkansas.

Before and after satellite imagery showing the destruction of tornadoes in Mayfield, Kentucky on December 11, 2021.

Courtesy: Maxar Technologies

“We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together,” said Biden. “The federal government will not go away.”

The officials continued to assess the extent of the damage throughout Saturday. Press reports and social media show destroyed buildings and fallen trees. According to reports compiled by PowerOutage.us, more than a hundred thousand customers are still without power.

One of the storms torn by four states, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, on a journey of at least 220 miles. The trail counts it among the longest tornadoes in US history if it stayed on the ground. The National Weather Service will conduct an official poll to determine if this is a single, ongoing tornado, NBC News reported.

Biden says U.S. is contemplating diplomatic boycott

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

Under a diplomatic boycott, American athletes would continue to compete in the Games, which begin February 4, 2022. However, an official delegation of US government officials would not attend.

The idea of ​​a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games is not new. Back in April, a State Department spokesman said the US was in talks with key allies about ways to protest China’s human rights record at the Winter Olympics.

But on Thursday, Biden himself confirmed for the first time that a diplomatic boycott is “something we are considering”.

Biden gave the brief answer to a direct question before quickly turning to the next reporter. The exchange took place during a meeting in the Oval Office with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the announcement a US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games would likely take place before the end of the month.

CNBC policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

Human rights activists have long called for a worldwide boycott of the Beijing Olympics, what they call the “Genocide Games”. They also asked the International Olympic Committee to postpone or reschedule the events.

But Western governments have generally opposed the idea of ​​an outright boycott of the Games, a move they see as unfairly punishing athletes for the offenses committed by the host government.

Beijing has international condemnation for its “Extensive repression program” against members of the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority.

In March, the United States and its allies did sanctions imposed against several officials in Xinjiang Province, the traditional homeland of the Uighur people. These sanctions remain in place.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken has called the treatment of Uyghurs in China “genocide,” but Biden did not use the word. Beijing denies that it violates Uyghur human rights.

Biden’s remarks came just days after holding a highly anticipated virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday evening. However, the summit hardly produced any concrete results.

A White House spokesman later confirmed that the Olympics did not take place during the hour-long meeting.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics holds the U.S. broadcast rights to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

Labor unions push White Home so as to add employee protections to Biden vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden watches as AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler speaks during an event honoring the unions in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 8, 2021.

Oliver Contraras | AP

Some of the largest unions in the country are urging the Biden government to expand its vaccine mandate to private companies to include additional protection for workers, including masking requirements and other safety measures to minimize the spread of Covid-19.

The AFL-CIO and about two dozen other major unions representing teachers, service workers, meat processors, auto and steel workers, spoke with the Biden government on an October 18 conference call with White House officials from the Office of Administration and Budget.

“We emphasized the importance of mitigation measures,” Rebecca Reindel, who represented the AFL-CIO on the call, told CNBC. “We really need to be one step ahead of the transmission part of the virus. It takes a while to get vaccinated – we need protection in the meantime, ”said Reindel.

Three of the largest unions, notably the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, told CNBC that they had asked the administration to expand worker protection and urged employers to stop ventilation improve and enforce the mask and social regulations distance. Reindel said companies should also be required to conduct a risk assessment in consultation with workers to determine what combination of mitigation measures are needed to best protect their employees in the workplace.

president Joe Biden ordered the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Department to draft a rule requiring private companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that they are all vaccinated or tested weekly Covid-19.

OMB and Labor Department officials have held dozens of calls and meetings with industry lobbyists over the past two weeks while OMB is reviewing the mandate, OMB records show. The vaccine and weekly testing requirements will go into effect shortly after the OMB review is complete.

The AFL-CIO has called for comprehensive measures to protect workers from Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. However, OSHA, which oversees workplace safety, has not yet enacted broad-based Covid safety rules.

Instead, OSHA enacted Restrictions in summer limited to healthcare workers. Most healthcare providers have had to develop plans to mitigate the risk of Covid, ensure employees wear masks indoors that keep people 6 feet apart indoors, install barriers in workplaces when employees are less than 6 feet apart , and ensure adequate ventilation – including a number of other requirements.

The AFL-CIO and United Food and Commercial Workers sued the Biden government, arguing that the OSHA standard “does not protect employees outside the healthcare industry who are at a similarly grave risk from occupational exposure to COVID-19” . The unions specially quoted meat packaging, groceries, transportation and corrections as industries where workers need the Department of Labor to issue an enforceable safety standard for Covid.

The unions and the Ministry of Labor tabled a joint application in September pause the case until the vaccination and weekly test mandate is granted to the Biden administration. The court will ask the parties to submit a joint status report on Monday.

“The harsh reality is that current COVID safety guidelines just aren’t enough and have left millions of key workers to their own devices,” said Marc Perrone, President of United Food and Commercial Workers. said in August after OSHA issued voluntary guidelines recommending masks for vaccinated employees working in areas with high transmission. “What we need now is a clearly enforceable COVID safety standard in the workplace that will protect America’s vital workers who are still at the forefront of this deadly pandemic.”

Perrone said his union is now waiting to see if mitigation measures are included in the vaccine and testing mandate. “If we still have concerns, we will move on,” he said, referring to the trial. The group represents 1.3 million employees in the food, retail, meat packaging, food processing, cannabis, chemical and distillery sectors, including employees from Tysons Food, Kroger, Macy’s, Cargill and Pfizer. People in these industries are largely viewed as key frontline workers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The UFCW warned in a letter to the Department of Labor in August that vaccinations – even if important – cannot remove the danger posed by Covid to workers as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads the effectiveness of vaccines over time subsides and new mutations of the virus emerge.

The AFL-CIO, in a May report, found 1,833 Covid outbreaks, nearly 90,000 infections and 378 deaths in the meat packaging, food processing and agriculture industries from the start of the pandemic in April 2020 to April 2020. A report by the House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis found infections among meat packing workers almost three times as high as previously reported.

“There will be certain people who won’t take [the vaccine] and get tested, and if you don’t have mitigation measures like masks then you’re defeating your purpose, “Perrone told CNBC.

The Service Employees International Union asked the von Biden government in September to add additional protective measures to the vaccination mandate. The union represents 2 million workers in basic services such as janitorial, health and other professions.

“Layered mitigation measures, including but not limited to masking and distancing, as well as quarantine after exposure or positive testing, are still necessary to protect against outbreaks,” wrote Leslie Frane, the union’s executive vice-president, in a letter to the union in September OSHA chief James Frederick.

The SEIU and UFCW have also called for paid vacations for workers to get vaccinated and recover from the shot, paid vacations for workers to quarantine and recover from the virus, and free Covid tests for Workers with testing facilities at the workplace. The Biden government said in September that it would also require companies with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for vaccination and recovery.

The United Auto Workers declined to expressly comment on whether the vaccine and test mandate should include measures to contain Covid. The big three automakers have already implemented extensive security protocols against Covid. While the union is generally in favor of vaccination, it rejects it under federal or employer mandate. The union will review the vaccine and testing mandate when it is released, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg told CNBC.

“We’re waiting for the standards because we have over 700 contracts and we need to go through them and see how they affect our contracts,” he said.

Biden outlines plan to increase U.S. well being packages as a part of broad home spending invoice

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Aug.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The White House on Thursday unveiled a new plan to expand several federal health insurance programs to cut costs to consumers under President Joe Biden’s broader $ 1.75 trillion Domestic spending package.

Biden plans to expand Medicare and Medicaid – the state health insurance programs for the elderly and poor – as well as the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, according to a White House leaflet.

As part of the expansion, Medicare would provide hearing services.

Biden’s plan would also provide tax credits to up to 4 million uninsured Americans in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. He also plans to cut premiums for approximately 9 million people insured through the ACA by an average of $ 600 per person.

In particular, no mention was made of prescription drug pricing reform, a policy for which Democrats and some Republicans have announced strong support in the past. Dental and vision benefits for Medicare beneficiaries were also excluded from the plan.

So it was in the plan:

  • Strengthen the Affordable Care Act and lower premiums for 9 million Americans. The framework will lower premiums for more than 9 million Americans who purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace by an average of $ 600 per person per year. For example, a family of four earning $ 80,000 a year would save nearly $ 3,000 a year, or $ 246 a month, in health insurance premiums. Experts estimate that more than 3 million people who would otherwise be uninsured will take out health insurance.
  • Close the Medicaid coverage gap that is causing 4 million uninsured people to get coverage. The Build Back Better Framework will provide healthcare through premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have banned them from Medicaid. A 40-year-old in the coverage gap would have to pay $ 450 per month for benchmark coverage – in many cases more than half of their income. The framework offers $ 0 to individuals in rewards and finally makes healthcare affordable and accessible.
  • Extend Medicare to Cover Hearing Services. Only 30% of seniors over 70 who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them. The Build Back Better framework will add hearing services to Medicare so that older Americans can access the affordable care they need.

Biden is expected to comment on the plan at 11:30 a.m. ET before heading to a week-long summit in Europe.

The announcement comes after haggling over how to pay for the plan, which could further delay the Build Back Better agenda. Still, the caucus managed to rally around a handful of revenue streams, largely aimed at big business and Americans who make more than $ 400,000 a year.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.

Biden unveils plan to handle local weather change dangers to financial system

United States President Joe Biden delivers September vacancy remarks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on October 8, 2021.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The Biden government on Friday unveiled a government-wide plan to address the systemic threat climate change poses to all economic sectors.

The roadmap is part of the longer term agenda of the White House to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030 and transition to a net zero emissions economy by mid-century while mitigating the effects of climate change on the economy.

Increasing climate-related disasters such as heat waves, droughts, floods and forest fires threaten the stability of the global financial system.

Extreme weather events this year Affected 1 in 3 Americans, according to federal disaster statements and interrupted supply chains across the country. Extreme weather for the past five years cost Americans According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than $ 600 billion in damage.

The government’s plan takes into account how climate change is affecting the businesses people invest in and aims to protect the savings and pensions of American families with retirement plans. Climate-related risks in retirement plans have cost US retirees billions in lost retirement funds, according to a White House leaflet.

The Department of Labor “is making efforts to remove regulatory barriers and ensure that benefit plan trustees can incorporate material climate-related risks into their investment decisions,” the report said. “These efforts will better protect the savings of American workers and their families from the effects of climate change and could also mobilize capital for sustainable investment.”

The roadmap also shows how authorities can strengthen infrastructure resilience in response to worsening climate disasters. It shows how authorities can use federal procurement to address climate-related financial risks and incorporate climate-related risks into federal lending and budget planning.

This month, more than 20 federal agencies did published climate adaptation plans Identify the greatest threats climate change poses to your businesses and facilities and how you intend to deal with them.

“Climate change poses a risk to our economy as well as to the lives and livelihoods of Americans, and we must act now,” said national climate advisor Gina McCarthy on Thursday during a press briefing. “This roadmap isn’t just about protecting our financial system – it’s about protecting people, their paychecks and their wealth.”

“We have a clear focus on how climate change poses a systemic risk to our economy,” said Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Bharat Ramamurti, at the press conference. “We take a precautionary approach that recognizes that inaction is not an option.”

The report is entitled “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy”.

President Joe Biden has also called on the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the head of the Board of Directors for Financial Stability and financial regulators to report on financial climate risk data. This report has not yet been published.

The President and the First Lady are traveling to Europe in two weeks, with the global climate crisis in the foreground of Biden’s agenda. Biden will also be traveling to Glasgow, Scotland, to attend the Parties’ UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in early November.