Vaccine mandate will deepen skills shortage

ConDig (27-Sept-21) The rollout of a vaccine mandate will exacerbate a skilled workers shortage currently gripping the construction industry, contractors have warned.

“We will be reviewing the guidance carefully with industry stakeholders to understand its full impact and unintended consequences,” said Ben Brubeck, Associated Builders and Contractors vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs.

“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.”

He noted that it was a top issue for contractors and added to a list of concerns that the industry faces, including a skilled workforce shortage, rising material costs, supply chain disruptions, jobsite shut-downs, additional health and safety protocols and new government regulations.

The mandate requires businesses with 100 or more workers to be vaccinated or face weekly testing. If businesses do not comply, the government will “take enforcement actions,” which could include “substantial fines up to nearly $14,000 per violation, Whitehouse officials said earlier this month.

It is understood that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not yet have an effective date.

ABC said it would be spelling out its concerns with Biden administration officials and evaluating legal and compliance options for the rule.

“It’s the most disgusting and egregious mandate that could kill off a lot of industries already struggling to find labor. A lot of industries worked through the height of Covid with no problems and now people could lose their jobs by not agreeing to take an experimental drug. It’s a huge slap in the face,” said one contractor.

“It’s just another form of coercion and we all have to stand up to this. No government or company has the right to tell you what to put in your body. And what if you are damaged by the so-called vaccine or even die? Will companies by legally accountable? It’s dystopic.”

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