MITA is closely monitoring two of President Biden’s executive orders issued on September 9 and their impact on the heavy construction industry.
The first order requires that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. The second requires all federal contractors to be vaccinated. MITA affiliate ARTBA has informed us that this applies to firms directly contracted by federal agencies. It does not appear applicable to firms working on federal-aid transportation construction contracts administered by state or local agencies. The order includes the same definition of “contract” as a July 22 directive increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors. MITA has reached out to MDOT leadership to confirm this position.
President Biden also instructed the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure all personnel are either vaccinated or tested at least once a week for COVID-19. Emergency temporary standards are effective upon publication in the Federal Register and require little to no input from industry. Employers will be required to provide paid leave for employees to get the vaccine and to recover from their vaccination, if necessary. Sources close to MITA suspect that OSHA will have an ETS in place by the end of the week. Michigan is under the jurisdiction of MIOSHA, which has to either adopt the OSHA standard or develop one that is as effective. Please remember, ETS rules are in effect for six months and may be extended one time. Thereafter, a permanent rule would have to be promulgated.
Please contact the MITA office at 517-347-8336 if you have any questions, and stay tuned for further updates.