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Mayor Lori Lightfoot will put Chicago Police officers and other city workers who don’t get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sunday on non-disciplinary no-pay status, her administration said late Friday.
The city will also consider disciplining workers, though it will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as the Lightfoot administration balances its public health policies with staffing problems in the police department.
“All City employees, including Chicago Police Officers, who fail to comply may also face disciplinary action, up to and including termination. These decisions will be addressed at an individual and department level, and are being undertaken in a manner that will not impact public safety or the continuity of everyday government operations,” her office said in a statement.
Lightfoot’s latest pronouncement comes after the city won another round in court this week in its legal battle with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police over the vaccine mandate. But she faces pressure not just from the police union — which has appealed the latest legal ruling and claims the mandate will results in an exodus of officers — but also from a group of aldermen still seeking to undo the rule.
The lawsuit filed last year by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 and other police unions against the city resulted in a February arbitrator ruling that upheld the requirement for city employees to be vaccinated, and set this Sunday as the deadline to get the first shot.
A judge’s decision this week to deny the union’s request to reconsider, and to lift a previous order pausing the vaccine policy, were additional setbacks for the local FOP, whose president, John Catanzara, has for months insisted the mandate violated union collective bargaining agreements.
The FOP has now appealed that ruling, but Catanzara acknowledged to his membership in an online video Friday […]
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