Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

MPD Supervisors Face Vaccine-or-Mask Requirement

Agreement is less strict than requirement for general city workers, doesn't include rank-and-file police officers.

By - Oct 14th, 2021 05:52 pm
Milwaukee Police Department. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Police Department. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new class of City of Milwaukee workers must be vaccinated for COVID-19 or face consequences.

The Milwaukee Police Supervisors’ Organization has approved a voluntary agreement requiring its members to be vaccinated. That includes Milwaukee Police Department members with a rank of sergeant, ID supervisor, lieutenant, captain or deputy inspector.

They will join the approximately 4,000 general city employees who also have a vaccination requirement. Mayor Tom Barrett used his authority on Aug. 24 to unilaterally require vaccination of those employees, which includes everyone from sanitation workers to public health nurses. As a result of Act 10, the only city employees protected by collective bargaining are public safety employees.

The general city workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or face possible suspension or termination. Limited medical or religious exceptions, subject to Department of Employee Relations approval, are available.

But the MPSO agreement has no such vaccine-or-else requirement. Instead, it has a vaccine-or-mask requirement.

Starting Nov. 30 unvaccinated MPSO members must wear a mask at all times on the job, except when eating or drinking. Failure to comply with the mask requirement could result in suspension and ultimately termination.

Already vaccinated MPSO members will receive two hours of paid administrative leave that must be used by Nov. 30. The MPSO agreement expires at the end of 2022.

“The City and the MPSO are interested in taking reasonable steps to protect individuals, their families, and the community from COVID-19,” said Barrett in a statement. “I appreciate the thoughtfulness the MPSO has brought to our discussions on this matter.”

The City is not yet releasing numbers on how many employees are vaccinated. General city employees still have two weeks to upload their vaccination information to a city portal.

“All members of the MPSO always have the protection and safety of our community first on their minds,” said MPSO president Carmelo Patti. “We truly appreciate the leadership of Mayor Barrett and his willingness to work with us on this issue to find a path that achieves those goals.”

There are two major groups that still do not have a vaccination requirement: firefighters and rank-and-file police officers.

Discussions with the Milwaukee Police Association, which represents rank-and-file officers, are ongoing said a mayoral spokesperson.

MPA acting president Andy Wagner did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Broader labor negotiations with both unions are also ongoing.

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