The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and two of its chapters, the Dallas-based TEXO chapter and AGC of Texas, filed a federal suit to block the government’s recent efforts to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal contractors and subcontractors.

“The administration’s frustration is one thing, but the way it has acted on its frustration is another, and in important respects has been unlawful,” says the court documents.

“Using the federal procurement process as a tool to implement public health policy is unlawful as a general matter, but even if there may be occasion to conclude otherwise, this is not one of them. Here, there is no nexus between the federal mandate that employees of federal contractors be vaccinated and economy and efficiency in federal procurement. The court should not allow it.”

A motion for a temporary restraining order filed by AGC mentions the government-wide mandate that federal contractors and subcontractors ought to compel their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022. To accomplish this, the documents state the government implemented “a highly irregular five-step process that exceeded the president’s authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and violated the Administrative Procedure Act; the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act; and fundamental principles embedded in the U.S. Constitution.”

The motion also claims that these actions have and will continue to “irreparably harm” the plaintiffs and the construction industry, citing an already tight labor market, and the loss of highly skilled employees–which will take years of training to replace, and impacts the abilities to complete projects on time and within budget.

“We are as eager as anyone to see more construction workers become fully vaccinated,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “But imposing a strict mandate on a small sector of the construction industry will only drive vaccine-hesitant workers out of that sector, and to one of the many other sectors also desperate for more workers.”

He continues, “The federal contractor vaccine mandate is unlikely to increase vaccination rates among construction workers, but it will make it much harder for federal contractors to complete projects. Making federal construction slower, harder and more expensive won’t improve federal procurement or public health.”