Some truckers chose to quit instead of complying with federal vaccine mandate

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FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 file photo, a nurse loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Jackson, Miss. Millions of Americans are now eligible to receive a Pfizer booster shot to help increase their protection against the worst effects of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden’s recently announced sweeping vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans is resulting in some truckers across the country quitting their jobs.

“The biggest problem drivers are having is that they don’t trust the vaccine, they’re scared of the side effects, the government forcing it on them,” said Michael Kucharski, vice president of JKC Trucking.

Kucharski said he supports the vaccine and educating employees about their benefits, but does not support Biden’s mandate for companies with 100 employees or more to require vaccinations.

The Biden administration has said that companies will face $13,600 in fines per violation. Employees that do not want to get vaccinated are supposed to be tested weekly.

“We are hurting. So if a truck driver quits, he could call 20 truck companies right now, and over the phone all 20 will hire him instantly,” Kucharski said. “We’re all fighting over the same drivers. Not only are we being hammered by COVID right now and the driver shortage, now this mandate comes along and it’s going to make it even worse for us to retain these employees.”

But some companies are welcoming the mandate. Donlen Corporation, a fleet leasing company north of Chicago, says it probably would have required their 320 employees to be vaccinated regardless of the mandate.

The company is holding vaccination events and even offering cash incentives up to $150 for early compliance.

And they’re not alone.

A group representing CEOs from 200 major companies including Amazon, Google, Apple and Walmart have said they support the Biden administration’s vaccine or test mandate. 

United Airlines announced that nearly 600 employees would be released for not complying with the mandate. It may serve as a stark warning to holdouts that job openings for the unvaccinated are shrinking.

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