The Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, along with other construction trade groups, took a stance against the state’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements, saying the mandate would be costly and time consuming. The associations sent a letter to the Minnesota Management and Budget saying that testing or vaccine mandates would change the terms of contracts and result in higher costs and project delays, or may not even work, reports Finance & Commerce. The letter went on further to say workers are trained in high safety consciousness and a significant amount of work is done outside.
Tim Worke, CEO of AGC-Minnesota, said in an email Tuesday that there are many unknowns as it relates to the policy.
“If an employer were to require all trades workers under their employment to be vaccinated, it will introduce a host of workforce relations questions that are not clear at this time. There are just so many unknowns at this time because construction is dissimilar to other employment in that it is multi-employer,” Worke said.
Worke also notes that contractors will be “challenged in finding crews or moving folks around between jobs. A disproportionate number of trades workers remain unvaccinated compared to peer workforce groups.”
On Aug. 20, MMB clarified that the policy generally applies to contractors and vendors who work indoors and have in-person contact with “state stakeholders” for more than 10 minutes at a time.
The policy doesn’t apply to “outdoor construction, building and grounds services, and maintenance contracts,” though workers are expected to wear face coverings when they have “in-person interactions with state stakeholders” and can’t maintain social distancing, MMB said.
MMB says the policy is a response to the “safety threat the COVID-19 virus poses when unvaccinated state members interact in person in the workplace with state agency employees or Minnesotans receiving state services.”