(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court decision blocking enforcement of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine or testing OSHA safety standard and upholding the CMS vaccine requirements for health care workers.
OSHA issued the standard in November 2021, covering 84 million workers in private sector businesses with 100 or more employees—or over two-thirds of the private sector workforce. The standard requires employers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and provides flexibility for employers by allowing them to give workers the option of either getting vaccinated or undergoing weekly COVID testing and masking when in the workplace. The ETS also provides paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.
“The Biden Administration’s vaccine or testing safety standard is a common-sense step to protect workers and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace—because no worker should worry about getting sick or dying from COVID-19 simply from going to work, full stop.
“Congress gave OSHA the authority to respond to emergencies to keep workers safe, and it’s clear this is one of those times—COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease that has killed over 840,000 Americans. While I am glad the Supreme Court upheld protections for health care workers, it’s absurd the Court’s decision failed to recognize the unique and serious danger the vast majority of workers face right now, and undermined a common-sense workplace safety measure that would save lives, keep people healthy, and prevent COVID-19 spread.
“I’ll continue working with the Biden Administration to do everything we can to fight this pandemic and protect workers from COVID-19 on the job.”