SNN’s 300th Update! New Vaccine Mandates, Supreme Court Battles, and Truckers Under the Influence

SNN’s 300th Update! New Vaccine Mandates, Supreme Court Battles, and Truckers Under the Influence

By Jennifer Gladstone

This is our 300th Screening News Network Update! Thanks so much for joining us every week for news that affects employers across the country.

Supreme Court Weighs in on Vaccine Requirements

Healthcare workers in Maine have been fighting the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate hoping to get a religious exemption. They made it all the way to the Supreme Court only to be disappointed.

Opponents were seeking an emergency appeal to the mandate that requires all hospital and nursing home workers to be vaccinated by October 29th. The employees say they do not want to take the vaccine because they are pro-life, and the vaccines were developed with cell lines from aborted fetuses.

The Maine mandate allows for health exemptions, but religious exemptions were removed from all vaccine mandates back in 2019 after voters rejected them in a statewide referendum.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer did not slam the door completely. He said they could make another emergency request if the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals turned them down. That happened on October 20th, so another emergency appeal can be expected soon.

This is the third time the Supreme Court has rejected attempts to challenge vaccine mandates. First, justices denied a request from students at Indiana University, then they refused to block New York City’s mandate for public school teachers.

NYC Vaccine Mandate In Effect

No vaccine? That could mean no paycheck in NYC.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that every municipal worker, including all police and firefighters, must be able to prove they have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination by 5 pm on Friday, October 29th. If not, city employees will be placed on unpaid leave.

The mayor is refusing to entertain a weekly COVID-19 testing option for those who do not want to get the shots but is offering an extra $500 for those who get vaccinated before the deadline.

Mandates have already been put in place for teachers and healthcare workers in the city. October numbers show that 96% of teachers have been vaccinated, as well as 91% of hospital employees.

Union leaders have vowed to fight the mandate.

More Truck Drivers Failing Drug Tests

While we are all still so focused on COVID issues, there is an epidemic of sorts happening in the trucking industry. Statistics have been released for September and they show that the number of commercial truck drivers who tested positive for drugs or alcohol went up 8% after dipping a bit in August.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are more than 34,000 drivers who are prohibited from driving until they complete their Return to Duty process. The vast majority of the failed tests are due to marijuana use.

The increase could be due to a growing number of drivers getting hired as the nation battles massive supply chain issues. Each applicant is required to have a pre-employment drug test.

On November 8th, 2021, a new rule will go into effect that will require a driver’s license to be downgraded if they test positive. If a driver is downgraded, states will be banned from issuing, renewing, or upgrading any CDL or learner’s permit. While the rule goes into effect this November, states have until November 2024 to fully comply.

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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