Chicago police union fighting Lightfoot COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Chicago police union fighting Lightfoot COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Chicago’s police union is planning to challenge Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate and encouraging officers to ignore demands to report their vaccination status by Oct. 15. Only about 25% of police are vaccinated.

Chicago police officers are being encouraged to refuse to tell the city whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 – something only about 25% of them have done.

The Fraternal Order of Police is planning to take Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to court to stop her vaccination mandate and the requirement that all city workers report their vaccination status by Oct. 15 or face loss of pay, union President John Catanzara said. He said the mayor cannot change work rules on a whim, and union members should expect to be sent home and lose pay.

“You will report to work for your Friday tour of duty and be sent home for not being in the portal. That’s the plan going forward,” he said in a video to union members. In the same video, Catanzara said this could reduce the city’s police presence by half over the weekend.

Multiple city worker unions have vocally opposed Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate. Only one in four members of the Chicago Police Department is vaccinated, according to the most recent data available.

Lightfoot responded to initial union pushback by saying Chicago city employees can temporarily opt out of COVID-19 vaccinations if they pay to get tested twice a week for the rest of 2021.

“There will be consequences if people are not complying with what the policy is by the Oct. 15 deadline,” Lightfoot said on Oct. 1.

There was no comment from the city Oct. 12 when Crain’s Chicago Business asked about the FOP actions.

All city workers must report their vaccination status to the city by Oct. 15. Prior to Lightfoot’s most recent announcement, any city employee who failed to report their vaccine status or get vaccinated would have been placed on no-pay status.

Now, unvaccinated city employees will be required to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week on their own time, at personal expense.

After Dec. 31, Lightfoot said city workers need to be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved religious or medical exemption.

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