Banning Mandatory Vaccines, Masks For Businesses Considered By House Panel
August 24, 2021
Many workers feel they are being pressured by their employers to get the mRNA shot, Chair Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan) said Thursday morning as her Workforce, Trades and Talent Committee took up legislation to prohibit businesses from requiring vaccinations, including those for COVID-19. “My constituents and people around the state are being mocked, threatened, and harassed, and shamed because they are exercising their right to not be forced to put something into their body. Fear is a powerful thing and people rightly want to know why they are being pressured hard for a shot when both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can get infected and pass this virus to others,” Griffin said as she began the hearing on HB 4471.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), would block an employer from firing an employee who declines to get vaccinated. Employers would be prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against unvaccinated workers.
Businesses also could not require unvaccinated workers to wear face masks.
And the bill would apply to the flu vaccine, the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine as well as the vaccines for COVID.
“There are several considerations that must be evaluated when discussing this bill,” Allor told the committee. “The first is the state of Michigan acknowledges that parents have a right to obtain medical or non-medical vaccine waivers for their children. This conveys that the parent, who most likely has a job and is employed, is viewed by the state as capable of making an informed decision with regard to vaccines being administered to his or her child. Why should they not be allowed to make decisions about their own health care?”
The hearing took place before a packed committee room of supporters who submitted a long string of cards. The committee heard from a series of witnesses who questioned the safety and effectiveness of the COVID immunization.
But business groups and health organizations oppose the measure, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the Michigan Association of School Boards.
Brad Williams, of the Detroit Regional Chamber, spoke against the bill.
“This represents the type of big government overreach many of the proponents of this legislation have long railed against and attempts to implement a one-size-fits-all solution to the thousands of businesses across the state,” Williams said. “There are good employers requiring vaccines and masks. There are good employers who are leaving the choice to individuals. The best employers value the safety of their employees above everything else and will make decisions that will balance the need to keep their employees safe and the need to attract top-notch talent to their offices and shop floors.”
There was a labor shortage before the pandemic and, according to the Chamber’s own polling, the workforce has shrunk 4.2% since the pandemic began, Williams said.
“Those workers are largely older and female. While there are multiple reasons for their decision to leave the workforce, health and safety are among the prime reasons. In other words, Michigan has a chunk of workers sitting idle because they do not feel the work environment is safe enough for them,” Williams said. “The free market works for both businesses and their employees. Businesses that implement requirements that some employees object to, those employees will go to new employers.”
Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) noted the bill prohibits businesses from requiring unvaccinated workers to wear face masks.
“How is this different than a dress code requirement?” Hope asked. “. . . If I have a business, I can require people to wear their hair short or dress a certain way. Why can’t I require them to wear a mask?”
“Because mask wearing is a biochemical nightmare. It is a metabolic nightmare,” said Dr. Christina Parks, who has a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan. She contended masks increase carbon dioxide in the body, contributing to risks for cancer and hypertension as well as other health conditions.
“I’m very well versed in the science of both these mRNA gene therapy vaccines, this kind of technology, as well as what a vaccine is designed to do in the body, what it can do, what it can’t do and the fact that this is extremely complex science that has been oversimplified in the media to basically take away our freedom of choice,” Parks said.
She contended that vaccine mandates are “based on the faulty assumption” that vaccines prevent transmission.
“Do the vaccines for COVID prevent transmission? No. In fact, they were never designed to do that. So you are asking, what about this 95% effectiveness? If you look at those clinical trials, they do not say that they prevent transmission. They expressly say that they’re measuring whether they attenuate symptoms.”
Dr. James Neuenschwander of Ann Arbor questioned the safety of the COVID vaccine, saying that any requirement to get a vaccine would be “mandating the use of a potentially dangerous medical product on otherwise healthy people.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the vaccine is safe and effective.
Dr. Moehanid Talia, of West Bloomfield, said an analysis of patents shows that “SARS-CoV-2 is not a natural coronavirus at all but rather a man-made virus that has been in the works for over two decades.”
The CDC says the source of the virus is unknown. While it could have originated in a lab, coronaviruses typically come from an animal host.
Katie Kim, a nurse at a “very prominent health care system in Michigan,” said she was told to take a week off after questioning the hospital’s policy for mandatory vaccines and has since been told she will be let go.
“They are taking a head count and actively attempting to fill our position before we are even gone,” Kim said. “It is disgusting. It is constant harassment, and it is true discrimination. Managers have been sent a list of employees in their unit who have not been vaccinated. These staff are now being pulled aside one by one and questioned. They are being pressured, coerced and intimidated into receiving the vaccine. They are being told they won’t be able to find other jobs in health care.”
The committee did not vote on the bill Thursday. Griffin said she called the hearing to shine a light on the issue, but didn’t indicate whether or when she might call for vote on the bill.