Trucking industry hails 'huge victory' after Labor Secretary says most truckers will be exempt from Biden's vaccine mandate

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  • Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said "most truckers" will be spared from Biden's vaccine mandate.

  • The rule will only apply to truckers who work in teams or interact with people outdoors, Walsh said.

  • The American Trucking Associations hailed Walsh's comments as an "enormous victory."

Truckers hailed victory on Friday after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in an interview that most drivers will be exempt from President Biden's vaccine and testing mandate, CNBC reported.

Walsh's comments came in response to criticism from the trucking industry against a policy announced by The White House on Thursday that will require millions of workers to be fully vaccinated or get tested regularly. The new rules are set to come into effect on January 4.

The rule applies to the federal government workforce and anybody working for a company with more than 100 employees, The White House said.

"We've heard some pushback from truckers today," Walsh said in an interview with MSNBC late Thursday. "The ironic thing is most truckers are not covered by this, because they're driving a truck, they're in a cab, they're by themselves, they wouldn't be covered by this."

A truck driver meets the exceptions if they work alone or exclusively outdoors and are not interacting with others at pick-up or drop-off locations, according to the Department of Labor. Truckers who work in teams - such as two people sitting in a truck cab - or who interact with people at their destinations or starting points would not be exempt.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said the provisions for truckers were "an enormous victory for our association and industry" in a statement on Friday.

Earlier this week, The Truckload Carriers Association released a statement that said the "disastrous mandate ... will undoubtedly ensure the trucking industry loses a substantial number of drivers." Insider has contacted TCA for comment.

The trucking industry has already been hit hard by the crippling labor shortage that is plaguing the US economy. According to an open letter to Biden signed by nearly 100 associations, including the American Trucking Associations, the US currently has a shortfall of 80,000 truck drivers,

The American Trucking Associations' Spear told CNN in October that there had been a 30% increase in trucker shortages compared with before the pandemic, a record high for the industry.

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