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On February 4, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects (the “Order”) for federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more. The Order instructs federal agencies to require “every contractor or subcontractor engaged in construction” on projects valued at $35 million or more to “agree, for that project, to negotiate or become a party to” a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”) with “one or more appropriate labor organizations.”

Federal agencies are authorized to grant exceptions to this PLA requirement under certain defined circumstances. The Order supersedes an executive order issued by then-President Obama in 2009, which had encouraged, but not mandated, the use of PLAs on construction projects valued at more than $25 million. The Order is characterized as a measure that will “promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement” and advance “small business interests” and represents a noteworthy shift in United States federal labor policy, underscoring President Biden’s commitment to fulfilling his campaign promise to be the most labor-friendly President in history.

The Order applies to all “large-scale construction projects,” defined as a “Federal construction project within the United States for which the total estimated cost of the construction contract to the federal government is $35 million or more.” The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (“FAR Council”), in consultation with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, may adjust this threshold based on inflation. “Construction” is defined to mean “construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, modernization, alteration, conversion, extension, repair, or improvement of buildings, structures, highways, or other real property.” It appears that the Order does not apply to federally funded projects under the control of state and/or local governments.

Continue Reading President Biden’s Executive Order Mandates Project Labor Agreements for All “Large-Scale” Federal Construction Projects

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On November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released its much-anticipated COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are either vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or submit to weekly testing.  According to OSHA, employees who are unvaccinated face a “grave danger” from COVID-19, including the more contagious Delta variant.  The ETS notes that COVID-19 is highly transmissible—particularly in workplaces where multiple people interact throughout the day often for extended periods of time—and exposure to COVID-19 can result in death or illness, with some individuals experiencing long-term health complications.  OSHA has determined that vaccination is the most effective way to protect these employees.

The ETS will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for November 5, 2021.  The ETS will apply in those states where OSHA is responsible for regulating workplace safety and health.  Per OSHA regulations, states that have their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plans will have 15 days to notify OSHA of the action they will take and 30 days to adopt the ETS or promulgate standards that OSHA considers at least as effective as its ETS.

The OSHA ETS is part of a sweeping policy of the Biden Administration to get more American workers vaccinated.  In addition to this ETS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released today a Vaccination Interim Final Rule (“IFR”) requiring workers at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid to be fully vaccinated.  Both the OSHA and CMS actions follow on the heels of Executive Order 14042 mandating that certain federal contractors and subcontractors require their covered employees to receive vaccinations against COVID-19, with limited exceptions for those who cannot be vaccinated for legally-protected reasons, and OSHA’s June 10, 2021 ETS directed toward protecting healthcare workers in particular from COVID-19.  Our previous alert on OSHA’s June 10, 2021 ETS is available here, and our alerts regarding Executive Order 14042 are available here.  OSHA excludes from coverage under the ETS those employers who are subject to the CMS rule or the Executive Order 14042 mandate.

Although the ETS is very detailed—490 pages in all—the key takeaways and deadlines for compliance are below.
Continue Reading OSHA Publishes Vaccine Requirements for Employers with 100 or More Employees

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Following President Biden’s announcement of Executive Order 14042 (“EO”) on September 9, 2021, several agencies have issued guidance on the EO’s applicability to the contractor community, which we reported on here.  Further to GSA’s September 30, 2021 Class Deviation CD-2021-13, on October 6, 2021, GSA reiterated that a mass modification program for all

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On July 21, 2021, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it is seeking public comment on a proposed rule which would require federal contractors to pay a $15.00 per hour minimum wage by January 30, 2022. The rule would implement President Biden’s April 27, 2021 Executive Order 14026 (“EO 14026”), which mandated an increase

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On July 29, 2021, President Biden announced certain actions to “get more people vaccinated.”  The White House announced that “every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no

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The Trump administration continues to pursue enforcement of its Executive Order 13950 (the EO), while lawsuits filed by two civil rights groups’ work their way through federal courts. The EO bans federal contractors from utilizing training that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping,” which is defined as “ascribing character traits,

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. has filed suit on behalf of the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the lawfulness and validity of Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, issued on September 22, 2020.

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Two weeks after President Trump issued an “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” which bans federal contractors from utilizing training that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping,” the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued its first guidance on the EO.

Notably, the guidance

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On August 3, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order framed as “Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers.” The Order declares the “policy of the executive branch to create opportunities for United States workers to compete for jobs, including jobs created through Federal contracts,” and directs

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), passed by Congress today, offers relief specifically targeted to federal contractors whose employees (1) cannot perform work on a “site that has been approved by the Federal Government ” during the COVID-19 public health emergency due to facility closures or other restrictions and (2) cannot