WASHINGTON, Sept. 24—Associated Builders and Contractors released the following statement in response to guidance issued today by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force about what is required of federal contractors with respect to a vaccine mandate for employees as a result of President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.
“ABC continues to encourage construction industry stakeholders to get vaccinated, because ensuring healthy and safe work environments for employees is a top priority of ABC and its members,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “However, today’s Task Force guidance is very broad in scope and raises a number of unresolved questions.
“We will be reviewing the guidance carefully with industry stakeholders to understand its full impact and unintended consequences,” said Brubeck. “However, based on our initial reading, this guidance will result in additional compliance burdens, exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage and increase costs for federal contractors and taxpayers.
“This is a top issue for the contracting community and adds to a list of concerns,” said Brubeck. “As with most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has already created and accelerated a host of challenges facing the construction industry, which includes a skilled workforce shortage, rising material costs, supply chain disruptions, jobsite shut-downs, additional health and safety protocols and new government regulations.
“In general, ABC is philosophically opposed to federal mandates that undermine the desired policy outcome,” said Brubeck. “Looking forward, ABC plans to participate in the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s rulemaking process for this rule and will be fully engaged in the forthcoming OSHA ETS rule applying to all employers with 100 or more employees.
“ABC will be sharing our detailed concerns with Biden administration officials and evaluating legal and compliance options for both rules.”
This week, ABC sent a letter to OMB and the Task Force on behalf of its federal contractor members with practical feedback on the EO, which includes 25 questions and concerns raised by the federal contracting community since the EO’s release on Sept. 9. ABC continues to encourage members to review its COVID-19 vaccine toolkit.