Biden takes vaccination mandate message to $123-million Clayco construction site in Elk Grove

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Site plan for the Elk Grove data center by CBRE

President Joe Biden took the argument for COVID-19 vaccination requirements to a Clayco construction site in Elk Grove Village on Oct. 4.

The contractor, whose CEO was reportedly a significant financial contributor to the Biden campaign, is building a $123 million Microsoft data center campus on 37 acres in the Elk Grove Technology Park.

In a speech, Biden championed COVID-19 vaccination requirements, determined that the roughly 67 million unvaccinated American adults must get the shot even as he acknowledged that mandates weren’t his “first instinct,” Associated Press reported.

“There is no other way to beat the pandemic than to get the vast majority of the American people vaccinated,” Biden said. “While I didn’t race to do it right away, that’s why I’ve had to move toward requirements.”

Clayco announced a new vaccinate-or-test requirement for its workforce in conjunction with Biden’s visit. The company is taking action weeks before a forthcoming rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will require all employers with more than 100 employees to require that their staffs be vaccinated or face weekly testing for the coronavirus, the published report says.

“You’re setting an example and a powerful example,” Biden told company officials. “I’m calling on more employers to act.” Biden encouraged other businesses to follow suit by taking action before the OSHA rule and to go even further by requiring shots for their employees without offering a test-out option.

“Here’s the deal: These requirements are already proving that they work,” Biden said.

The Elk Grove site visited by the president could eventually hold three data center buildings totaling 400,000 sq. ft. supporting Microsoft’s Azure and other cloud services, Data Center Dynamics (DCD) has reported. Microsoft purchased it for $52 million in January 2020 and applied to build there in August, according to reports in Chicago’s Journal & Topics news site. The park is a $1 billion development near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, owned by Brennan Investment Group.

Clayco CEO Bob Clark is a major Democratic donor who contributed more than $137,000 to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, according to records with the Federal Election Commission, Fox TV reported. Clark also served as a bundler, bringing in at least $100,000 to Biden’s 2020 campaign, and contributed $1.6 million to Democratic campaigns in total, Forbes reported.

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