TOPEKA (KSNT) — Emotions ran high Friday as U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall visited from Washington D.C., and took the time to speak with workers about their concerns with the federal vaccine mandate announced by President Joe Biden.

The meeting was held in the basement of the senator’s new office in downtown Topeka. More than 100 people were at the meeting, and there wasn’t enough room to house all of them, according to eyewitness accounts. Some had to wait in the hall as Marshall spoke at the head of the room. According to these union employees, they’re essential workers and have until Dec. 8 to get the COVID-19 vaccine or they will lose their job.

Speaking on the possibility of losing their jobs, the men and women there expressed their concerns about the risk that the vaccine mandate poses to their freedoms as Americans.

“These are real people with real jobs that are being forced to choose between their job and getting the jab,” Marshall said. “And they’re going to walk away from their jobs because they feel so strongly about this situation that no one is going to convince them otherwise.”

The mandate from the president requires employers with 100 or more workers to have all staff get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or show weekly negative COVID-19 tests. However, like some universities in Kansas are now processing through, an executive order from Biden also requires any federal employee or contractor to get vaccinated with no option for testing instead. Because Kansas State University and the University of Kansas hold federal contracts, they have also given their staff a deadline of Dec. 8 to get the vaccine.

Although the senator was sympathetic to the workers’ concerns and questions, he did not provide a substantial answer when they asked what they could do to put a stop to this.