Psaki: ‘COVID Is an Enormous Labor Disruptor’

By Melanie Arter | October 22, 2021 | 5:41pm EDT
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing on October 22, 2021, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing on October 22, 2021, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is defending President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate from claims by a trade group that represents FedEx and UPS that it’s making supply chain problems worse right before the holidays.

On Monday, the Cargo Airline Association sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, saying that they have “significant concerns” about the vaccine mandate and the ability to implement it by Dec. 8. 


The group said they’re already experiencing a worker shortage - both on the ground and in the air - and any loss of employees who refuse to get vaccinated will “adversely impact needed operations.”

Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki, “The leader of the union representing FedEx, UPS and DHL is saying that supply chain problems are going to get worse with labor shortages right before the holidays unless the president postpones the requirement to get vaccinated by December 8. So what is more important to this president - the vaccine mandates or fixing the supply chain as fast as possible?”

PSAKI: First, I would say that that is not actually what we’ve seen at companies that have implemented these vaccine requirements, that are not even part of federal law yet--- 

So American and Southwest CEOs have made clear their workers will not be--- there won’t be a labor shortage. We’ve seen United Airlines implement this, and as we’ve also said, as we work to implement these employee requirements, the first step is not firings. It’s actually education and counseling, so we don’t actually anticipate these disruptions. What we’ve seen for companies who have implemented these requirements is it increased from 20 to 90 percent.

Last thing, and then I’ll let you ask your follow-up, is that the other piece of this is that COVID is an enormous labor disruptor, not only because it’s the number one cause of death in some industries, in some professions, including police forces across the country, but because people are out sick. People are worried about coming to work. This is one of the reasons that a lot of these companies have implemented these requirements.

DOOCY: Just so that I understand the position then, this union leader says that the looming December 8th mandate for having fully vaccinated workforces creates a significant supply chain problem. You say, no, it does not. Is that right?

PSAKI: What I would point to Peter is the evidence we’ve seen from companies, large companies, private sector companies that have implemented these requirements across the board.

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