Private employers around the country are implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, some in response to the mandate implemented by President Joe Biden on businesses with 100 or more employees through the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA), and Arizona Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) is pushing back. Bolick sent a letter to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix demanding a meeting to discuss its vaccine mandate, stating that Biden’s OSHA mandate is unconstitutional and pointing out various reasons why Mayo should reconsider its policy. The Arizona state representative said that she has received dozens of emails from Mayo employees about it, including remote workers who work from home.
The Arizona Sun Times received a copy of the letter from Bolick. “During the height of the pandemic in 2020, these same health care heroes worked tirelessly for Mayo to care for the sick knowing they were potentially putting their own health and family’s health at risk,” she wrote. “Yet, just a year later, Mayo appears ready to show them the door considering the Biden/Harris administration’s lawless vaccine mandate.”
Bolick, who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, explained how Biden’s mandate using OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) was illegal. “Not only does this mandate exceed OSHA’s scope of authority, the public comment process, normally preceding issuance of an ETS, was bypassed by the administration.” She declared, “Congress never delegated this authority to OSHA and thankfully, it is being challenged in court.”
She told Mayo that the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) issued a statement on October 4 declaring that the mandate had no authority in Arizona. ICA pointed out that the public comment period was omitted and stated that ICA is “one of 22 OSHA-approved state plans that have exclusive responsibility for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards within their states.”
Specifically, “Although messaging from OSHA might suggest that the ETS is immediately binding on employers across the country, including in Arizona, this is not the case. … Under Arizona’s long-approved state-plan procedures, the Industrial Commission has exclusive authority to decide if, when, and to what extent the State of Arizona will adopt the OSHA vaccination ETS.”
Next, Bolick cited legal challenges to the mandate by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The mandate “violates the major questions doctrine in violation of the Congressional Review Act and abuses the federal power under the Commerce Clause.” Brnovich has asked the courts for an emergency temporary restraining order as well as a nationwide injunction halting implementation of the mandate.
A federal appeals court has already blocked the mandate from going into effect, Bolick said in the letter, due to possible constitutional issues. She said this isn’t surprising considering a Washington D.C. federal district court issued a decision last week temporarily halting the mandate from allowing employers to fire active-duty service men and women who sue for a religious exemption.
Bolick discussed how Mayo’s policy allows religious or medical exemptions, but employees are then be subject to testing at their expense. “It is worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control don’t recommend asymptomatic testing due to the high level of false positives. Keep in mind, these tests offer no scientific underpinning or regulatory approval — just more governmental overreach.” She also cited a recent study which found that the vaccinated spread the delta variant just as easily within households as the unvaccinated.
She asks why employees who have had COVID-19 aren’t exempted from the vaccine. “There have been several scientific studies pointing to natural immunity being more robust and longer lasting than a vaccinated immunity, including one published by Dr. Marty Makary of the John Hopkins University. Dr. Makary states there is evidence that people who already have natural immunity are at heightened risk of vaccine side effects caused by an augmented inflammatory response.”
Finally, Bolick references a ruling that came out by a federal district court judge on November 5 granting an exemption for the nursing students attending the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). “MCCCD must honor the nursing students’ religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Judge Steven Logan wrote.
She ends the letter asking for a meeting, declaring, “Arizona is a right-to-work state, not an authoritarian despot. Our Constitution protects and secures the right to remain free.” She asked Mayo to consider the circumstances. “Are you willing to look at herd immunity in Arizona, the number of reported COVID-19 cases who fully recovered, or natural immunity because of their recovery from a COVID infection? … Arizona faces a shortage of qualified health care workers, and that will be severely aggravated if the federal mandate remains in effect.”
Arizona is currently experiencing a surge of breakthrough COVID-19 cases, with nearly 18 percent of new cases occurring among vaccinated people.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Shawnna Bolick” by Marcus Huey CC BY-SA 4.0 and photo “Mayo Clinic lab” by Mayo Clinic Laboratories.