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‘I’m very confident that we will win’- Local business owner fighting President Biden’s vaccine mandate for workers

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:14 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The federal government has responded to that Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in New Orleans, which temporarily blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.

RELATED STORY:

5th Circuit Court of Appeals suspends Biden’s vaccine mandate

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor say vaccine requirements are necessary to prevent covid transmission, throughout America’s workplaces.

But Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who filed the suit against the feds, disagrees.

“We believe there’s a cardiovascular issue in this country. And so therefore we’re going to make it illegal for you to smoke, drink, or even eat boudin. I mean what are we going to have next. Have OHSA outlaw eating boudin?,” said AG Jeff Landry, a Republican.

Louisiana Attorney General and others fight vaccine mandate.
Louisiana Attorney General and others fight vaccine mandate.(WAFB)

Companies with 100 or more employees, could be forced by the federal government, to have their staff fully vaccinated by January.

Or submit to weekly covid tests, and possibly have to wear a mask at work.

“I’m not in a certain little box. I’m an American, and I’m proud to be American, and I’ve had enough,” said Brandon Trosclair, local grocery store owner.

Trosclair is the boss of around 475 employees, across his 15 regional grocery stores including Ralph’s market, Butcher Boy, and Save A Lot.

He’s one of the business owners fighting President Biden’s vaccine mandate in federal court.

“This is not a pro-vaccine or an anti-vaccine, this has nothing to do with it. This is strictly about we’re anti mandate, which is why we’re here today,” said Trosclair.

He’s part of that big lawsuit against the OSHA.

And in the first round of things, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor, temporarily blocking the vaccine mandate.

“If it came down to where I couldn’t employ somebody because they didn’t want the vaccine for their personal decision, then yeah we’d be up a creek, to say the least,” said Trosclair.

In response to the ruling, the Biden Administration argued it has the authority to issue a mandate for bigger businesses and said blocking the mandate could cost lives.

‘Faced with an extraordinary pandemic and a serious threat to employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency

temporary standard to address the grave dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace. That Standard gives employers the option of requiring vaccination or offering their employees the option to mask and test. The Standard reflects OSHA’s expert judgment that these measures are necessary to mitigate COVID transmission throughout America’s workplaces,’ was said in the Introduction and Summary of the federal government response to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Folks like Sarah Harbison, who is representing Trosclair, believe this is an inappropriate use of OSHA regulations.

“It’s really tough to keep people employed and it’s really hard to find folks who want to work. And so if you have to compete with the government for your employees, the situation is only going to get a whole lot worse,” said Sarah Harbison, general counsel for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

Attorney General Jeff Landry agrees and is part of the lawsuit as well.

“Never before has the federal government, embarked upon such an aggressive move, to get between an American citizen and their doctor based upon their healthcare choices,” said Landry.

“You wouldn’t of had to do this, if Louisiana Republicans would’ve actually done something during their Veto Override session correct?” questioned WAFB’s Lester Duhe’.

“Well look, we would’ve been in a lot better position if Republicans in the state legislature would’ve done more of their job, in checking the power of the government. We’d be in a better position, I think Louisiana would be more along the lines, of further along the lines of recovery as Florida and Texas. Unfortunately, we may be in the same bucket, that we’re talking about here because this is an executive order that’s been brought down by the President of the United States.

However, I would add, we have not received any calls from the governor supporting our position,” said Landry.

“A lot of pepole may think this is AG Jeff Landry playing politics, how would you respond to that?” questioned Duhe’.

“I would tell them that they evidentially don’t know a lot about me and the job we’ve done for the past 6 years. It’s never been about politics, it’s more to do about policy and process and upholding the law,” said Landry.

There could be a possible ruling on a permanent injunction by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, as early as Wednesday.

“What happens if you guys lose this? Would yall have to follow the mandate?” questioned WAFB’s, Lester Duhe’.

“I’m a grocery guy Les. I don’t have all those answers, and I don’t know that. I’m a simple grocery guy. But I’m very confident that we will win,” said Trosclair.

Depending on what happens next in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming days, this case could be headed to the Supreme Court.

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