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Tags: Coronavirus | Joe Biden | Vaccines | ports | supply chain | biden | vaccine mandate

Port Industry Leader: Supply Chain Issues Could Worsen Under Biden Vaccine Mandate

trucks drive on dock with ships in background
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 11 November 2021 01:53 PM

President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate could worsen the current supply-chain crisis, the leader of an organization that represents shipping-industry employers said.

Pacific Maritime Association President James McKenna told Bloomberg Law he was concerned that some unvaccinated workers won’t report for duty with a mandate in place.

"Probably the worst thing that could happen to us is to have less bodies available to man these terminals," McKenna told Bloomberg Law.

McKenna estimated that 30% to 40% of local dockworkers aren't vaccinated.

The PMA negotiates labor agreements for 70 companies at 29 West Coast ports.

The Biden administration announced last week that all employees at companies with more than 100 workers must get COVID-19 vaccinations by Jan. 4 or get tested weekly.

The mandate, though, has been on hold since Friday, when a federal appeals court in New Orleans temporarily halted its implementation.

McKenna said enforcing the mandate would be difficult because of the flexible nature of dock work. About 80% of the labor force work on a rotation basis, and not for a single employer, Bloomberg Law reported.

The PMA president said that keeping track of 15,000 employees who work for different facilities from day-to-day "is going to be a Herculean task. Particularly for those that have not been vaccinated and are required to be tested."

McKenna added that many dockworkers wouldn't be subject to the mandate because the rule doesn't apply to people working exclusively outdoors.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., last month said Florida was ready to help with the nation's supply-chain logjam by welcoming ships that can't unload their cargoes in California.

"We're really proud of our seaports," DeSantis said. "Since I've been governor, we've invested about $1 billion into modernizing them and making them even more effective, so we have capacity."

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, also offered his state’s help in alleviating the supply-chain crisis. Abbott said shortages could improve if goods came into the U.S. through Texas ports rather than waiting around off the coast of California.

"In just two weeks, those same ships could go through the Panama Canal and go to the Houston Port and Freeport Port in the state of Texas, unload and be back in Asia before they would even be unloading in California," Abbott told the Fox Business Network.

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President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate could worsen the current supply-chain crisis, the leader of an organization that represents shipping industry employers said. Pacific Maritime Association...
ports, supply chain, biden, vaccine mandate
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2021-53-11
Thursday, 11 November 2021 01:53 PM
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