Large Triangle employers begin preparations for vaccine, testing mandates

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Large employers across the Triangle face a federal deadline, two months from now, requiring employees to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, or submit to weekly testing.

The U.S. Department of Labor guidance for employers with one hundred or more workers, through O.S.H.A., is based on what the agency described as a “grave danger” posed to unvaccinated employees.

The rule covers 84 million Americans.

While many large Triangle employers have not released specifics on how they will implement the new requirements, CBS17 spoke with several workers at large area companies.

Chris Haggis, a vaccinated worker at an auto store, said he’s expecting guidance from his employer soon.

“Literally today out a blast email, they said, ‘We’ll contact you we’ll let you know what’s coming,’” he told CBS17’s, Sean Cudahy.

Chris Ingison is a vaccinated truck driver for a large company.

“We haven’t been informed there’s going to be a requirement at all,” he said.

CBS17 also spoke with an elementary school teacher at a local school district. While vaccinated herself, she said she is still waiting to hear how the district will roll out its requirements – a policy she’s eagerly awaiting, anticipating a few of her colleagues will object – perhaps even leave their jobs.

“Because they’re truly against it,” she said, noting she supports the mandate.

In a statement Thursday evening, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction superintendent, Catherine Truitt, (R), said she opposes the Biden administration’s mandate, and called it “government overreach.”

She pledged to work in the coming days with North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson “as he seeks to implement a plan that is right for North Carolina.”

And while the new federal mandates apply to companies with one hundred or more workers, the rules will also have an impact throughout industries – including on smaller companies: in a statement Thursday, the Associated General Contractors of America – which advocates for the general contractors’ industry nationally – said it expects “vaccine reluctant workers to relocate to smaller firms” rather than get vaccinated.

David Price, who runs a small contracting firm in Raleigh, said the impact on his industry remains a mystery.

“Whether that’s going to look like people jumping ship and going to smaller companies like (mine),” he said, “I’m not one hundred percent certain.”

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