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Supreme Court decision won't change vaccine plans for some Oregon businesses
Hildegard Lamfrom was a molecular biologist from the Northwest, who helped develop the Polio vaccine. She's also the sister and aunt to the former and current CEOs of Columbia Sportswear, Gert and Tim Boyle. "So you can imagine the firmly held belief within the family that vaccines are important and work.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Hildegard Lamfrom was a molecular biologist from the Northwest, who helped develop the Polio vaccine.
She's also the sister and aunt to the former and current CEOs of Columbia Sportswear, Gert and Tim Boyle.
"So you can imagine the firmly held belief within the family that vaccines are important and work. It’s consistent with the family's contributions to community health and being committed to vaccines," said Columbia Sportswear Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Richelle Luther.
Even though the Supreme Court blocked the OSHA rule that businesses with more than 100 employees require vaccinations or weekly testing, Columbia Sportswear still expects everyone in the corporate office to be vaccinated or request a religious or medical exemption by Feb. 1.
The company made that decision before the court made theirs Thursday.
"I think they were signaling pretty strongly how they were going to come out, but it doesn’t change our commitment to the vaccination mandate for our headquarter employees at all. It certainly would have made it easier if we think that we’re all in this together and working under the same rules," said Luther.
Nike has been reported to have something similar in the works, but KATU did not get a response to a request for an interview to find out if any plans had changed.
Other businesses that had instituted vaccine mandates plan to follow through.
The Standard in downtown Portland requires employees to show proof of full vaccination or a negative test result before being in person on the job.
“We know this is a divisive issue for some, but The Standard is committed to protecting the health and well-being of all our employees, tenants and customers,” said Standard spokesperson Bob Speltz. “The vaccination or testing policy we have adopted balances workplace safety with personal choice, and today’s ruling by the Supreme Court will not change our approach.”
But the court's decision got accolades from the country's biggest retail trade group.
The National Retail Federation called the decision “a significant victory for employers.”
The vaccine mandate that the court will allow to be enforced nationwide applies to health care providers that get federal Medicare or Medicaid funding, and includes about 10 million workers.
Mark Parkinson, the president and CEO of American Health Care Association, said the mandate could push more vaccine hesitant workers off the job, leaving thousands of elderly patients without the care they need.
“Long term care providers have been relentless in encouraging staff to get vaccinated, and we have made considerable progress with 83 percent of nursing home staff now fully vaccinated. However, rampant misinformation has sowed doubt and concern among many on the frontlines. We must collectively address the root cause of vaccine hesitancy rather than penalize providers who are making valiant efforts," Parkinson said in a statement Thursday.
The health care worker vaccine mandate is the strongest action taken since the pandemic began.