States sue, manufacturers commit to comply
States sue over vaccine mandate.

States sue over vaccine mandate.

Attorneys general from several states including Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio and others have or plan to file suit challenging the Covid-19 vaccination mandates set out by President Biden in September.

The Federal Government issued an executive order on September 9, 2021, that required federal contractors, subcontractors, and their employees to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have an approved religious or medical exemption by December 8, 2021.

More recently, on Nov. 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration posted an emergency temporary standard that required all manufacturers with more than 100 employees must have their workers vaccinated or have them wear masks and get weekly testing.

Several major furniture manufacturers had previously announced that they intend to meet the Covid-19 vaccine mandate first announced by President Joe Biden in September, and more recently propagated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

For example, in Indiana, Kimball International, OFS Brands, Indiana Furniture, Versteel, and Jasper Group jointly announced on Oct. 27, that they planned for complying with the Covid-19 vaccine mandate as providers of furniture products to the U.S. federal government.

Separately, as previously reported, office furniture manufacturers in Michigan announced that they planned to meet the president vaccine mandate.

In the joint announcement, Max Verkamp, president and CEO of Indiana Furniture, said. “We fully respect that our collective workforce may have different perspectives related to COVID-19 and the vaccine, but we must comply with these requirements as a part of our federal contracts.” 

Scott Schwinghammer, president of Versteel and Ditto Sales Inc., added, “The federal government has been a long-standing and strategically important customer to each of our businesses. Our organizations have spent decades building expertise in providing furniture solutions for a vast array of federal government environments including offices, medical and educational centers.”

Each company will begin working with employees immediately to verify compliance or discuss potential exemptions to ensure the government’s requirements are met by December 8.

“We may work for different companies, but we’re all a part of one community,” said Hank Menke, president and CEO of OFS Brands Inc. “We need to look out for the people of our communities so all of our businesses here in Dubois County continue to thrive.”


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).