BREAKING! OSHA ETS Employee Vaccine Mandate
American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Applauds the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America ’s Legal Challenge Against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s COVID Vaccine Mandate Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)
Washington. D.C. – The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) issued the following statement regarding the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America’s legal challenge against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s COVID Vaccine Mandate Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS):
ASA applauds the AGC of America regarding their legal challenge against OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate ETS, which will have significant implications for the construction industry’s workforce, particularly since OSHA has generally characterized the construction industry as low risk. The AGC of America’s petition filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit notes “that OSHA exceeded its statutory authority to promulgate an ETS, and it failed to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.” Additionally, this new standard will impact all construction companies with 100 or more employees by causing many of them to lose a substantial number of their workers to smaller companies, instead of leading to more people getting vaccinated in the industry.
From the outset of the pandemic, the construction industry has been at the forefront of efforts to protect construction employees from the virus. ASA, along with the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), developed a “COVID-19 Exposure Prevention Preparedness and Response Plan” in March of 2020, which we shared with OSHA.
Per the AGC of America, “sixty-four percent of construction workers are with firms that employ 99 or fewer people. With nearly 90 percent of construction firms reporting they are having a hard time filling positions, and many other sectors eager for workers, many vaccine-hesitant workers will have little difficulty finding career opportunities at the smaller firms that are not covered by the OSHA mandate.”
ASA will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to protect construction employees from the virus. This standard, however, presents one of the greatest sources of risk to the construction industry because it is likely to exacerbate the skilled labor shortage currently facing an industry already experiencing increased material prices and supply chain uncertainties.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION: The American Subcontractors Association (ASA), a trade association representing over 1,800 subcontractors and suppliers in the construction industry since 1966, works with our membership on improving the business environment in the construction industry, representing subcontractors at all branches of local, state and federal government.
On November 5, by a vote of 228-206, the House passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (11 Republicans supported the Act with 6 opposed to it). The bill provides $550 billion in new funding for roads, bridges, public transit and other projects in coming years. The legislation now goes to the President for signature.
The House was unable to vote on Friday on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act. The House instead is set to approve a procedural measure teeing up a vote after members return from this week’s Veteran’s day recess. That was a last-minute concession to a group of moderates who refused to vote for the spending package without the CBO score. Progressives also made a concession by supporting the infrastructure legislation before a vote on the larger spending package. “I’ve spoken to the president a number of times today and he appreciates that we are working in good faith with our colleagues,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. “We’re going to trust each other because the Democratic Party is together on this, we are united that it is important for us to get both bills done.”
A statement from the group of moderates including Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Josh Gottheimer said they would commit to voting for the economic package “in its current form” as long as a CBO score is consistent with White House estimates on cost and revenue.
The back-and-forth throughout the day and threats from both factions to scuttle any action, left some lawmakers frustrated. “We started this day thinking we had a deal, thinking that we were going to cast our votes -- were excited to cast those votes,” Representative Jared Huffman, a progressive from California, said. “And then a small cohort of our colleagues moved the goalposts.” With the vote in doubt for much of the day, President Biden made calls to House Democrats and put off plans to leave Washington on Friday for his Delaware home. He continued to lobby Democrats into the night.
The $550 billion bill is the biggest investment in infrastructure in decades, in a move that some economists say could boost productivity and economic growth over the longer haul.
Among the components of the eight-year public-projects bill:
• About $110 billion in new spending for roads and bridges
• $73 billion for power grid upgrades
• $66 billion for rail and Amtrak
• $65 billion for broadband expansion
• $55 billion for clean water
• $39 billion for transit