Chicago city workers who don’t have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a group that includes about 2,800 cops, will be placed on nondisciplinary no-pay status on Sunday after the city won another court battle over its mandate last week.
The city will consider disciplining workers on a case-by-base basis, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday.
‘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,’ the mayor said.
About 2,800 Chicago police officers and 300 firefighters remain unvaccinated, according to WGN.
As of December, 6,621 officers had applied for religious exemptions, but 58 percent were still waiting for an answer. Only 1.5 percent of the requests had been granted.
Chicago is facing a shortage of police officers as crime continues to spike in the Windy City, with robberies and murders outpacing last year’s totals so far.
Last month, an arbitrator upheld the city’s vaccine mandate and set this Sunday as a deadline for city workers to get the first shot. The second shot is due by April 13, but the ruling allows more time for those who made a good-faith effort to get an appointment for the first shot.
This week, the judge denied the union’s requests to reconsider its claims and lifted a previous order that put the vaccine policy on hold, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot could place as many as 2,800 police officers on no-pay status on Sunday if they’re still not vaccinated
The city and the police union have been locked in a months-long court battle over Lightfoot’s mandate. Officers now have until Sunday to get their first shot and until April 13 to get a second shot. Above, officers and city workers protest the mandate on October 25
As of December, 6,621 officers had applied for religious exemptions, but 58 percent were still waiting for an answer. The head of the police union says those who haven’t gotten a determination can wait until they get one
Mayor Lightfoot, 59, has not wavered in her stance that vaccines are critical for the city’s workforce.
‘We gave people notice in August that this was critically important,’ she said last month, according to WMAQ.
‘Having a safe workplace is something that I think we have an obligation to do, and my expectation is that people will comply with the mandate. We’ve given ample, ample, ample opportunities for them to the in compliance.
‘We’e worked with them. We’ve tried to meet them where they are. But yes, there are some people that have decided that they rather not be a city employee rather than get vaccinated, and that’s their choice.’
Her office did not immediately respond to questions from DailyMail.com about the number of officers and city workers who will be placed on no-pay status on Sunday.
The city has been engaged in a months-long court battle against the Fraternal Order of Police, which sued to prevent the vaccine mandate from going into effect last year.
All city employees had until October 15 to report their vaccination status and until the end of the year to get their shots.
The FOP argued that the mandate violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Fraternal Order of Police, a local union, argued that the mandate violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement. The union has all but lost its case in arbitration. Above, an anti-mandate protest at City Hall on October 25
After the police union sued, a judge suspended the December 31 vaccine mandate for police officers and directed the union and the city to arbitration, a process that takes place outside of the traditional judicial system.
In December, an arbitrator ruled that other city workers, including firefighters, had to get their shots by the end of the year, according to the Tribune.
Last month, an arbitrator upheld the mandate for police officers and set a first-shot deadline for March 13. Officers must get their second shots by April 13, but the ruling allows for extensions if officers make good-faith efforts to get an appointment for a first shot.
Similarly, the officer who haven’t yet heard back about their religious or medical exemptions are exempt from the deadlines until they get a decision, according to FOP President John Catanzara.
On Friday, Catanzara told his members in an online video that unvaccinated officers could be placed on no-pay status on Monday.
FOP President John Catanzara told his union members in an online video that unvaccinated officers could be placed on no-pay status on Monday
Catanzara, who had been an officer at the Chicago Police Department for almost 27 years, resigned from his job at the department in November.
In the comments section of a post about his resignation, he wrote: ‘Finally!!! Let’s go Brandon,’ according to WTTW.
The arbitrator dealt another blow to the unions last week, declining to review the case. The FOP appealed.
On Wednesday, Catanzara said: ‘I don’t know what happens over the next 72 hours. All I can tell you is we are not going to stop punching. This easily can be all averted before this cliff becomes a reality,’ referring to the nearly 3,000 officers who could be placed on no-pay status.
On Friday, 12 aldermen sent Lightfoot a letter saying they would call a special City Council meeting if she didn’t respond to their concerns over the mandate.
‘We cannot afford to lose one more police officer, firefighter, paramedic and city worker at this critical time,’ they wrote.
Chicago is having a hard time retaining officers and hiring new ones as crime continues to spike.
As of February 27, overall crime was up 34 percent in Chicago compared to the same time last year.
Nyzireya Moore, pictured, was pronounced dead shortly before noon on March 4, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and police said
Nyzireya was in the passenger seat of a family member’s car when three men fired on another vehicle and a stray bullet struck her in the back of the head
On March 4, a young girl died on her 12th birthday, while still wearing her pink birthday sash and tiara, after she was hit by a stray bullet in a gang related shooting as she and her family returned home from a restaurant, authorities say.
Nyzireya Moore was pronounced dead shortly before noon that day, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and police said.
She had been in critical condition at Comer Children’s Hospital with severe brain injuries since the March 1 shooting in the city’s West Englewood neighborhood.
Nyzireya was on her way back from a birthday dinner with her family when she was shot.
She was in the passenger seat of a family member’s car when three men fired on another vehicle and a stray bullet struck her in the back of the head, police said.
The Moores’ car was not the intended target.
Nyzireya’s relative heard the gunshots before realizing the girl had been hit in the back of her head.
They drove to Holy Cross Hospital, where Nyzireya was eventually transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital. She died at the hospital on Friday.
No arrests have been made.