COVID vaccine: Milwaukee worker mandate deadline passes

The deadline for city of Milwaukee workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 passed on Friday afternoon, Oct. 29.

A small number of city employees – about 230 – have not done anything yet. City leaders call the compliance rate of more than 91% successful.

The vaccine requirement was announced on Aug. 24. Of the 3,100 employees impacted by the mandate, Milwaukee Department of Employee Relations Director Makda Fessahaye said only 230 have either not uploaded proof of vaccination or received an approved exemption.

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The mandate did not cover employees like contractors, elected officials, members of boards and commissions, vendors or members of the police and fire departments.

Two weeks ago, however, the city reached an agreement with the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization for mask requirements if members are not vaccinated. Still, holdouts should expect penalties.

Milwaukee City Hall

"Employees will be placed on a 30-day disciplinary suspension.  Should they comply with the policy during that period during the suspension, we will bring them back to work," Fessahaye said.

On Thursday, city leaders kept their fingers crossed that employees were waiting until the last minute.

"As is often the case in life, if you wait until the deadline to finally do what you have to do and file the paperwork," Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman said.

There is also a fear that non-compliance could result in a worker shortage.

"If they don’t submit their proof, then obviously we would have some vacancies in those positions," said Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

City leaders told FOX6 News that they will update the public again on Monday, Nov. 1 with a final tally.

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