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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

On January 21, 2022, the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued an Order in Georgia v. Biden, No. 2:21-cv-163 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 21, 2022), which responded, in part, to the Government’s requests for clarification regarding the scope of the court’s nationwide injunction of the federal contractor vaccine mandate promulgated under Executive

Earlier today, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary nationwide injunction of the contractor vaccine mandate in Executive Order 14042.  This injunction will bar the Government “from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States

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

On November 4, 2021, the White House released a Fact Sheet announcing that federal covered contractors now have until January 4, 2022 for their covered employees to receive their final vaccination doses. Under the Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance, covered contractors previously had until December 8, 2021 to have

On November 1, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for federal contractors that are subject to Executive Order (EO) No. 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.  The new guidance addresses requests for accommodations, applicability to corporate affiliates, and recommendations for enforcement and compliance.  As required by the implementing contract clause, covered contractors are required to comply with this new guidance.

Requests for accommodations:  First, the FAQs state that requests for accommodation do not need to be resolved before a covered contractor employee begins work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace.  While requests are pending, these employees must follow workplace safety protocols for employees that are not fully vaccinated as specified in the Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, which Crowell addressed in client alerts on September 24, 2021 and October 6, 2021.  On the other hand, for covered employees that are not vaccinated because they received an accommodation from the covered contractor, agencies are entitled to determine which protocols such employees must follow when they enter a federal workplace.  Notably, agencies may determine that mandating the vaccine is the only safety measure available.  In such cases, covered employees with accommodations would be unable to work at the federal workplace but the contractor would not be relieved from meeting its contractual requirements.  Covered contractors could presumably take the same approach for employees that only or occasionally work at a covered contractor workplace.  Additionally, covered contractors should notify their contracting officer when one of their employees who works at a federal workplace has received an exception to the requirement to be fully vaccinated.

Corporate Affiliates:  Second, the FAQs clarify that corporate affiliates of a covered contractor that do not otherwise qualify as covered contractors may be covered by the vaccine mandate if: “(i) either one controls or has the power to control the other; or (ii) a third party controls or has the power to control both.”  Indicia of control also include interlocking management or ownership, identity of interests among family members, shared facilities and equipment, or common use of employees.  Therefore, employees of a corporate affiliate of a covered contractor working at the covered contractor’s “covered contractor workplace” will be subject to the vaccine mandate.  Additionally, a facility that is owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by an affiliate that is not a covered contractor will be considered a “covered contractor workplace” subject to the vaccine mandate where an employee of the affiliated covered contractor working on or in connection with a covered contract is likely to be present during the period of performance.
Continue Reading Task Force Issues New FAQs for Contractor Vaccine Requirements

Executive Order 14042, issued on September 9, 2021, requires that certain federal contractors and subcontractors mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for covered employees in addition to requiring compliance by covered employees and visitors with other COVID-19 safety protocols.

However, E.O. 14042 leaves several questions unanswered, including how agencies should implement the order and, in some cases,

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

This afternoon, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued its Guidance regarding COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (at all tiers), pursuant to President Biden’s September 9, 2020 Executive Order.  The 14-page Guidance addresses the following topics:

  • Vaccination requirement.  The Guidance mandates vaccinations, with exceptions only for those employees legally

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