Statement on Employer Policies Regarding Vaccinations and Testing

AFSCME Council 5 Statement on Employer Policies Regarding Vaccinations and Testing

South St. Paul, Minn. - Today, AFSCME Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl released the following statement:

"Since the release of the vaccine, our union has strongly advocated for all Minnesotans to receive the vaccine when eligible to protect our co-workers and loved ones. We actively support localized vaccine events, vaccination incentives, readily available testing free of charge and community-specific education and outreach initiatives. Public service heroes are further experiencing a resurgence of the delta variant in our workplace and communities.

“We will continue to promote the safety and efficacy of vaccines to protect all workers and those we love. In light of the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to work with all employers to ensure that workers’ voices, ideas, and concerns are truly heard in the decision-making process with regard to vaccine and testing mandates, their impacts, and questions/concerns regarding the implementation of the mandate.

"Our 43,000 union members are the backbone of keeping Minnesota working."


Our union's position remains the same as we have had since the creation and distribution of the vaccine: We highly encourage all eligible Minnesotans to receive the vaccine to protect themselves, their co-workers, friends, family, and communities. Our union does not support mandatory vaccinations. Click here to read a letter detailing our position that recognizes employer's legal ability to set such workplace policies, but in the event of a vaccine policy. our union will continue to push for a testing opt-in to ensure workers stay on the job and workplaces are safer and healthier for all.

Employers such as the State of Minnesota, Regions Hospital, City of St. Paul, Ramsey County, Hennepin Healthcare, the federal government, Mayo Clinic, and others have instituted/expressed their intent to issue vaccine and/or testing mandate choices and protocols. We are closely following-up on these rapidly changing developments and there are questions yet to be answered.

State Executive Branch Employees (Choice of vaccination or weekly testing)

  • "Effective September 8, all state agency employees who are assigned to work at the workplace or otherwise provide agency services outside their home are required to either show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or be tested at least weekly. Employees who have an approved telework arrangement and are not required to work in the workplace or provide agency services outside of their home are not subject to COVID-19 testing, but they will only be allowed to enter the workplace for no more than 10 minutes or provide agency services outside of their home if they show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination."
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free to state agency employees.

Click here to access answers to Frequently Asked Questions for State Agency Workers 

Hennepin Healthcare

  • From Labor Relations: "To get vaccinated, call Employee Occupational Health & Wellness at 612-873-2383 as soon as possible to make an appointment. Team members must receive their first dose of vaccine by October 1 and their second dose in a two-dose series by November 1. Team members may request an exemption for limited medical reasons consistent with CDC recommendations or sincerely held religious beliefs."

*These policies may change based on conversations with the employer.

Click here to learn more about Governor Walz's 100 Dollar Vaccine Incentive