Health Care

Policy and Legal

EEOC Presents Mandatory Vaccine Guidance

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As the largest inoculation effort in human history kicked off this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provided guidance on mandatory employee vaccinations. Here is a brief summary, courtesy of NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Drew Schneider.

What they’re saying: The EEOC allows employers to require employees to take the vaccine, so long as the company meets requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Equal employment laws still apply during the pandemic, but the EEOC states that they “do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.”

Disabilities and direct threats: “If an employee is unable to take the vaccine due to a disability, an employer may only exclude the employee from the workplace if that worker presents a ‘direct threat’ to other workers and the employer is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation to the employee that would eliminate or reduce the risk to other employees,” says Schneider.

“If an employer suspects that the employee poses a direct threat, the employer should conduct an individualized assessment of four factors to determine whether direct threat exists: duration of risk, severity of potential harm, likelihood of harm and the imminence of potential harm.”

Religious objections: If an employee objects to the vaccine because of a sincerely held religious practice or belief, an employer must provide reasonable accommodation unless it poses an undue hardship under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Schneider explains. According to the EEOC, courts have defined “undue hardship” as having more than a minimal cost to the employer.

The NAM says: NAM President and CEO Timmons said in a recent statement about potential vaccine mandates, “While there are likely legal concerns with blanket mandates, if any of our members believed that a requirement at their company was the right thing to do, we would certainly support that within the bounds of the law. Because America’s future depends on folks rolling up our sleeves in a new way.”

Check out the guidance here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Secure Priorities in Year-End Stimulus Legislation

Stoick: “We have been fully engaged with House and Senate leaders to keep this vital work going"

Washington, D.C. – Following passage of Senate amendment to H.R. 133 – United States Mexico Economic Partnership Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021], National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Government Relations Jordan Stoick released the following statement:

“Manufacturers secured many of our top priorities in this important legislation, including numerous provisions the NAM first proposed in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan.’ The additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program will provide a continued lifeline for small manufacturers. Furthermore, the resources for testing and vaccine distribution, as well as tax incentives for manufacturers that keep employees on payroll and invest in safety measures, will ensure America’s dedicated, essential manufacturing workers can continue their mission safely.

“Across the country, manufacturers are providing the vaccines, PPE and supplies needed to defeat COVID-19, so we have been fully engaged with House and Senate leaders to keep this vital work going. We have a difficult winter ahead, and this legislation will help save lives and livelihoods and keep manufacturers operating. As folks continue to roll up their sleeves and receive initial doses of the vaccine, we are also looking to the other priorities facing us in the new year—including historic investments in infrastructure, energy innovation and more—to ensure manufacturers can lead a full economic recovery and American renewal.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Welcome COVID-19 Vaccine Authorization

The fight is far from over; Americans need to roll up their sleeves, take the shots in the arm

Washington, D.C. – Following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“America’s biopharmaceutical manufacturers have a long history of first-in-the-world research that has yielded amazing results, leading to the eradication of the worst epidemics our country has faced. Today’s remarkable announcement will hopefully go down as yet another lifechanging development, and we are looking forward to future successful clinical trials and FDA approvals, hopefully in the near future.

“While science has a strong hand in eliminating vexing diseases, it is the people behind the vaccine who are to be heralded today—the innovative scientists, the lab workers, the doctors, the nurses and the thousands of volunteers who stepped up to the plate to trial this groundbreaking vaccine.

“But the fight is far from over. Americans need to roll up their sleeves, take the shots in the arm and recognize that it’s our innovation and our actions aimed at the greater good that will put a stop to this pandemic. That’s the obligation we have thanks to the gifts of freedom and free enterprise that have been bestowed on us.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Congratulate McDonough on VA Nomination

Timmons: "He brings a focused, collaborative approach to any mission, and he has proven a strong commitment to our nation’s veterans"

Washington, D.C. – Following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement nominating Denis McDonough for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Throughout his career, Denis McDonough has proven to be a leader of extraordinary capability. He brings a focused, collaborative approach to any mission, and he has proven a strong commitment to our nation’s veterans. We congratulate him on this announcement.

“Through The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America initiative, manufacturers are working every day to help our veterans and members of the military community find new careers in modern manufacturing. We have been working with the VA to support the veteran community in translating their skills into new opportunities in our industry. We look forward to working with Secretary-designate McDonough and the VA in the Biden administration to build on this work—supporting our heroes and strengthening manufacturing in America.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

About the MI

The MI grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI’s diverse initiatives support all workers in America, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the NAM, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information on the MI, please visit creatorswanted.org 

About Heroes MAKE America

Heroes MAKE America, an initiative launched by the MI to build connections between the military community and manufacturing industry, is a Department of Defense (DoD) SkillBridge approved training program that equips participants with the skills and certifications needed to find and excel in manufacturing careers. Service members, their families, veterans and reservists are eligible for the program which currently operates at military installations in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky and Kansas. The Heroes team recently launched Heroes Connect, a 100 percent virtual offering that allows prospective talent from the military community to connect with hiring managers from manufacturing companies. The new offering was created to supplement a cornerstone of the Heroes program which was to provide weekly tours of manufacturing facilities looking to hire Heroes graduates. For more information on Heroes initiative, please visit themanufacturinginstitute.org/veterans/heroes-make-america

Business Operations

The Timeline for the Vaccine Rollout

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The counteroffensive against the pandemic entered its next phase earlier this week, when 90-year-old Maggie Keenan became the first Brit to receive the initial dose of the United Kingdom’s rollout of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the U.S. effort is also moving forward, with some big milestones coming up this month. Here’s what the timeline looks like.

Dec. 10: The Vaccine Advisory Board at the Food and Drug Administration will meet to consider emergency approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Dec. 11 or 12 is likely to see the beginning of U.S. inoculations for the Pfizer vaccine, since they are expected to begin 24–48 hours after FDA approval.

Dec. 17: The Vaccine Advisory Board is expected to consider Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Dec. 18 or 19: Moderna’s vaccine is set to reach patients.

End of December: 40 million doses of vaccine are expected to be delivered by Pfizer and Moderna, which will cover approximately 20 million people.

January or February 2021: Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine is expected to come online, offering additional options and capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, while deliveries of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to multiply nationally. The goal is to have another 80 million people vaccinated during these two months.

By June 2021: 600 million vaccines in total are expected to be produced by a range of manufacturers, which means that everyone who wants a vaccine will have access to it at little to no cost.

Press Releases

Manufacturers on Incoming COVID-19 Coordinator

Timmons: “Jeff Zients is exactly the right choice to help lead the next administration’s COVID-19 response.”

Washington, D.C. – Following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement of Jeff Zients to lead the Biden administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Jeff Zients is exactly the right choice to help lead the next administration’s COVID-19 response. The NAM always enjoyed a strong and productive relationship with Jeff in his previous role, and he is the right person for this job. He is well suited for addressing both the economic and public health challenges we face. Manufacturers can always count on him to be responsive and candid, and you can’t overstate how valuable it is to have that open channel of communication—especially now that his new role will involve helping to lead America out of this ongoing crisis.

“Manufacturers are encouraged that alongside Jeff will be experienced medical experts to effectively communicate and implement the policies needed to move our country forward. Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers have stepped up to provide leadership for our country—from encouraging smart health practices to producing personal protective equipment and developing vaccines. We are committed to continuing that leadership until we defeat COVID-19, and we are ready to work closely with Jeff, and the rest of the incoming administration, to achieve a strong economic recovery and American renewal.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Business Operations

How Pfizer Will Deliver Its Vaccines

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Pfizer is working around the clock to ensure an efficient and speedy distribution of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, pending emergency use authorization in the United States. To do so, it has developed an innovative packaging and storage solution that just might help save the world.

The challenge: Beyond developing a vaccine in the shortest time frame ever attempted, researchers at Pfizer must ensure that hundreds of millions of vials of its potential COVID-19 vaccine are kept frozen at extreme temperatures (-70 degrees Celsius) as they are shipped across the globe.  

The solution: Pfizer got to work designing, engineering and manufacturing temperature-controlled thermal shippers that use dry ice to maintain the required temperature until the point of vaccination.

Once in transit: Pfizer will monitor GPS-enabled thermal sensors in every thermal shipper from a control tower, which will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment along its preset route. That means Pfizer can prevent unwanted deviations before they happen. 

Once on site: After arriving at the points of use, providers will have three options for storage:

  • Ultralow temperature freezers, which are commercially available now and can extend shelf life for up to six months.
  • Refrigeration units commonly available in hospitals, which can safely store the vaccine for up to five days at 2–8 degrees Celsius.
  • The same Pfizer thermal shippers that carry doses during shipping; these can serve as temporary storage units for up to 15 days as long as they are refilled with dry ice.

The last words: “We have developed detailed logistical plans and innovative tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring. Leveraging those resources and based on our track record, we are very confident in our ability to distribute large quantities of our potential COVID-19 vaccine to customers with different infrastructures in all parts of the country and all markets across the globe,” said Pfizer Vice President, BioPharma Global Supply Chain Tanya Alcorn.

“Pfizer is proving yet again that manufacturers’ ingenuity knows no bounds. The progress they have made on a vaccine alone is incredible, and the innovative way they have now addressed these distribution challenges is impressive. It shows manufacturers’ unwavering commitment to saving lives and helping to lead America out of this crisis,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

Policy and Legal

Vaccines: What’s Next?

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The creation of several safe and effective vaccines within a single year is historic. But what can we expect to happen next? NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling spoke to us about the vaccine rollout—and what this achievement tells us about the state of American public policy.

What’s next: For Pfizer and Moderna, the next step is to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. In fact, Pfizer is set to do so today, though the approval process is likely to take a few weeks.

The vaccine manufacturers are also focusing on the rollout process.

  • That includes not only mass production, but also mass distribution across 64 jurisdictions that include every state, territory and tribal nation in the United States.
  • Those jurisdictions have submitted plans to the Department of Health and Human Services for consideration, and manufacturers will work with all governments to make the process go smoothly.

How they’ll do it: In some cases, this will involve a public–private partnership with manufacturers through Operation Warp Speed, which will help distribute kits that include needles, vials, alcohol wipes and other important elements.

  • It will also involve a system for ordering and tracking vaccines that allows the federal government to keep tabs on who is getting the vaccine and when.
  • Some vaccines require two doses, which means that coordination is especially key—local governments and manufacturers must ensure that patients can get a second dose at the right time.

It takes a village: Boerstling emphasized that the vaccines’ development relied not just on a few pharmaceutical companies, but on many manufacturers—as well as an ecosystem that supports innovation, collaboration and discovery.

  • “The fact that our biopharmaceutical manufacturing community had the platforms to do what it has accomplished in a very short time is nothing short of amazing,” said Boerstling.
  • “But given the expertise, research and development investment, access to capital and all the things that make our industry competitive in the United States, it’s also something that we can expect in this ecosystem. It’s a testament to our ability to mobilize quickly and create progress.”

The bottom line: Most importantly, Boerstling emphasizes, vaccines protect us against this virus—and manufacturers must get the word out. “Vaccines work,” she says. “They protect Americans from adverse health events. And COVID-19 is the most adverse health event in our lifetime.”

Business Operations

Porta-King CEO Steve Schulte Talks Health Care

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Steve Schulte began his career running Porta-King Building Systems, a portable building manufacturer, five decades ago. At the time, the Montgomery City, Missouri, business had just 10 employees—but as it grew, Schulte decided to offer health insurance to his employees to attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

Over time, Schulte became an advocate of providing benefits like health care to manufacturing employees—and when the NAM started developing NAM Health Care to extend affordable coverage to small manufacturers, Schulte wanted a seat at the table. Today, he serves as the chair of the NAM Health Care program’s governing committee.

“I thought it was very important for small businesses to be part of a larger group to help improve the cost of their health care,” said Schulte. “Knowing how expensive it is in today’s market—as a small manufacturer, it’s very difficult to get a competitive rate. Being a part of a larger group offers a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to get involved.”

How it works: NAM Health Care is an association health plan created by the NAM, Mercer and UnitedHealthcare. It allows manufacturers with fewer than 100 employees to band together to purchase affordable coverage that is usually available only to larger companies. Offering a range of benefits and savings, the program is tailored to manufacturers and provides tools that make the process of offering health benefits easy.

NAM Health Care is operated by the plan’s governing committee, which is made up of mostly small and medium-sized manufacturers. The committee manages the NAM’s medical, dental, vision and life plans with the support of Mercer and UnitedHealthcare.

The benefits: While Schulte’s company is too large to take advantage of NAM Health Care, he knows that the initiative still provides important benefits for his company. By helping his smaller suppliers attract and retain high-caliber employees, he can strengthen his own supply chain and the manufacturing workforce as a whole.

The last word: “As time goes on and it becomes more well known in the manufacturing community that the NAM has this offering, it will continue to grow,” said Schulte. “I’m a believer in the program. I’m delighted to be a part of the beginning stages and to be able to see the success we’ll continue to have.”

To learn more about the program, go here.

Press Releases

NAM Appreciates Biden Message and Leadership on Masks

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following President-elect Joe Biden’s encouragement for all Americans to wear face coverings.

“Americans and the American economy benefit from a consistent message on how to control the pandemic in order to bring our economy back and save jobs and lives. President-elect Joe Biden’s message today, which is based on fact and science, is the type of leadership by example that will help us achieve that.

“President-elect Biden is doing exactly what he promised: following the science to defeat COVID-19. We are very encouraged that he has also named a task force to help us defeat this invisible enemy. It is significant that only 48 hours after achieving the electoral votes necessary to be elected, the incoming president focused like a laser on this national crisis in his first address to our nation.

“Since the early days of the pandemic, manufacturers have been calling on our fellow Americans to wear face coverings in public, socially distance and follow other smart health practices, and early in the crisis provided innovative solutions and quickly retrofitted our essential operations to meet the challenge.

“As President-elect Biden said today, while we keep working toward a vaccine, ‘the single most effective thing we can do’ is wear a mask. He’s exactly right, and we hope all Americans will join manufacturers in this simple but lifesaving act.

“Manufacturers and the business community look forward to continuing to work with the Biden–Harris transition team and administration to ensure that our nation successfully restores our public health and recovers economically.”

Background: The NAM’s Creators Respond Commitment encourages our industry to commit to healthy behaviors like the use of face coverings, social distancing, handwashing and other health practices. Join the commitment here: https://www.nam.org/crc/

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

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