Seven Colorado-based construction trade unions sued the city of Denver on Thursday over the city’s vaccine mandate.
The lawsuit seeks to block the vaccine mandate for private construction contractors who work with the city, arguing that construction companies should not be required to impose the city’s mandate on their workers, that the mandate rests on contractors. does not apply and the mandate is unconstitutional, among other arguments.
“Plaintiffs support vaccination and have made significant efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the lawsuit reads. “However, Denver cannot legally or practically employ the private sector to enforce the order for this.”
The lawsuit also names Robert McDonald, executive director of the city’s health department, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock as defendants. Trade unions following the action claim the city’s vaccine mandate will exhaust the contractor workforce, resulting in delays in city projects and higher construction costs. The lawsuit notes that the construction industry employs many people of color who may be “vaccinated because of their mistrust of the government.”
“A contractor reports that approximately 68% of its construction workforce and 23% of professional workforce are unaffiliated as of this filing,” the lawsuit states.
Trade organizations are seeking a judge’s order to set aside the order as it applies to contractors.
Seven Denver police officers made a similar claim against the city last week; His case was dismissed on Wednesday on the grounds that he did not exhaust the administrative measures before bringing the trial.
A spokesman for the Denver City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the new lawsuit, and an attorney for the trade unions did not immediately return a request for comment.
Denver’s mandate covers city employees and contractors as well as some private sector employees, including those who work in health care, correctional facilities, and public and private schools.
Officials said that starting Friday, city workers who refuse vaccination “under any circumstances” will be fired. Other employees who are not in compliance can expect to receive a 10-day unpaid suspension, after which they are still out of compliance at the end of the suspension.
The lawsuit states that the construction contractors are not employees of the city, but the trade unions expect the city to fine the companies $5,000 a day if they do not comply with the mandate.