JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Farm Bureau, with MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil Company, and Doyle Manufacturing Company, announced today [November 16, 2021] that the companies have filed a lawsuit challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency rule vaccine mandate.
The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) from OSHA mandates that U.S. workers at companies with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated or tested against COVID-19. The rule is expected to disrupt workforces across the country and further stress an already fragile supply chain.
On Friday, Nov. 12, the companies jointly filed a petition for review with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The petition claims OSHA exceeded its statutory authority in implementing the ETS and violated the U.S. Constitution and other laws.
“Throughout the course of the pandemic, our focus has been on employee and customer safety. MFA has implemented multiple safeguards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and we have recommended to employees that consultation with a trusted medical professional is the best path for making informed medical decisions,” said Ernie Verslues, MFA Incorporated President and CEO. “Yet, we also take medical privacy seriously, which is a principle compromised by the mandate. Aside from how the mandate challenges the rights and privacy of employees, the matter of its arbitrary implementation is also a concern and will likely introduce more chaos into the labor markets.”
“The health and safety of our employees and members is of utmost importance as we lead out of the pandemic,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins. “We continue to urge our team to take precautions to protect their health and the health of their families and those we serve. We strongly encourage our employees to consult with their personal physicians in making their decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This medical decision should be up to each individual and their doctor. The Biden administration’s mandate is egregious government overreach that takes away individuals’ rights to make their own medical decisions. It also is an unlawful imposition on private employers and extremely counterproductive to the nation’s economic recovery. At a time of rampant labor shortages, this unlawful mandate only compounds the problem and adds costly and burdensome regulatory red tape on employers. The impact on organizations like ours and employers across the country cannot be overlooked.”
“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have taken extraordinary measures to protect the safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve,” said Jon Ihler, MFA Oil President and CEO. “We have always followed OSHA guidelines, but we are concerned that the vaccine mandate will impose burdensome new requirements on our business. We support vaccination, but we also oppose any rule that restricts the freedom of our employees to make their own personal health decisions.”
“Here at Doyle, we believe in our motto ‘Safety First, Quality Always,’ and the safety of our employees is our top priority,” said Doyle Equipment Manufacturing’s Director of Human Resources Catherine Doyle. “From the start of the pandemic, we’ve taken the health and safety of our employees, customers and vendors seriously. With that said, we feel that our employees should have the freedom to choose for themselves if they want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We have an incredible workforce at Doyle and fear that it will become severely depleted if this mandate goes into effect.”
To flourish in the long term, United States companies must stand up for the rights of our employees and the customers they serve. Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil Company, and Doyle Manufacturing have conscientious and diligent employees who deserve the right to make their own medical decisions and to be treated with dignity. The petition was filed in that spirit.
Missouri Farm Bureau, founded in 1915 as the nation’s first state Farm Bureau organization, remains one of the strongest. With over 143,000 member families across Missouri, MOFB is the state’s largest and most influential farm organization.
MFA Incorporated is a regional farm supply and marketing cooperative based in Columbia, Mo. Through its network of retail locations and affiliated cooperatives in Missouri and adjacent states, MFA provides products, services, and expertise to help farmers succeed.
MFA Oil Company, formed in 1929, is a farmer-owned cooperative with more than 40,000 members. MFA Oil is the ninth-largest propane retailer in the United States. The company supplies fuels, lubricants and propane to customers in Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Through a subsidiary, MFA Oil operates Break Time convenience stores in Missouri and Big O Tires franchises in Missouri and Arkansas.
Based in Palmyra, Mo., Doyle Equipment Manufacturing is a four-generation, family-owned company and leading manufacturer of dry fertilizer blending, conveying, tending, and spreading equipment. Doyle Equipment is celebrating 70 years of business this year.
— Missouri Farm Bureau