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Biden will use Illinois trip to push firms on vaccine mandates – Crain’s Chicago Business

(Bloomberg)—President Joe Biden will escalate his campaign to pressure private employers into imposing coronavirus vaccination mandates during a visit to a Chicago suburb Thursday.

The president will visit an Elk Grove Village construction site for Clayco Inc., a construction company that plans to require vaccinations or weekly testing for its employees, a White House official said.

Biden will also highlight the example of United Airlines Holdings Inc.., which has said that 98.5% of its workforce has complied with an inoculation requirement. The Chicago-based company in August became the first U.S. carrier to impose such a requirement.

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Before the trip, the White House released a report that said 3,500 U.S. organizations already have a vaccine mandate, including 40% of hospitals and 25% of businesses, following Biden’s directive that federal workers and contractors be vaccinated and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration draft regulations for companies with at least 100 employees. 

Several legal challenges have been mounted against the mandates. 

A growing number of places across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City, are requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter various types of businesses and venues.

U.S. deaths since the start of the pandemic have surpassed 700,000. About 186 million Americans, about two-thirds of those eligible, have been fully vaccinated.

Late last month, Biden canceled a planned trip to Chicago to remain at the White House to negotiate with warring progressive and moderate congressional Democrats whose differences over the size and scope of his proposed tax and spending plan threatened to sink his entire economic agenda.

The rescheduled trip will be Biden’s second as president to Democratic-controlled Illinois. He visited Chicago in July to push his yet-to-be-passed stalled infrastructure plan.

“He wants to lift up and communicate not to just people of Chicago, but the people of the country about the effectiveness of vaccine mandates — how they can work for businesses, how they can make workplaces safer, and how they can be constructive to our economy,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

First lady Jill Biden intends to visit Chicago during a two-state Midwest swing next week. And Biden’s housing secretary, Marcia Fudge, was there this week, visiting a housing development and promoting the president’s so-called Build Back Better agenda.

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