City Hall, Chicago FOP File Dueling Lawsuits In Heated Standoff Over Vaccine Mandate
The standoff between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police over the city's vaccine mandate is now in the hands of the courts, after both sides filed lawsuits against each other on Friday.
CHICAGO (CBS)– The standoff between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police over the city’s vaccine mandate is now in the hands of the courts, after both sides filed lawsuits against each other on Friday.
Friday morning, the city filed a complaint against the FOP and its President, John Catanzara, for supporting a “work stoppage or strike regarding the vaccine mandate.” Both state law and the FOP contract with the city prohibit officers from going on strike.
Hours later, the FOP filed its own lawsuit against the city, Lightfoot, and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, accusing them of failing to properly negotiate with the union over the vaccine mandate.
Friday marks the deadline Lightfoot has set for all city workers to report their vaccination status to the city, despite warnings from the city’s police union that half of the force is willing to defy the deadline and risk going unpaid.
The stare-down between the mayor and the FOP is fueling concerns that Chicagoans’ safety might be put at risk.
By 11:59 p.m. Friday, all city employees – including CPD officers – are required to enter their vaccination status into an online portal. If unvaccinated, they must agree to get a COVID twice a week through Dec. 31, the deadline for all city workers to be fully vaccinated.
Any city employees who don’t provide their vaccination status by the Friday night deadline could be placed on “no pay” status.
Lightfoot’s released the following statement:
“As Chicago’s Mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders. President Catanzara has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order. Notably Catanzara has urged officers to reject the City’s vaccine policy and has repeatedly instructed police officers to refuse to comply with the City’s lawful directive which requires all City employees to report their COVID 19 vaccination status by October 15. By doing so, and by predicting that 50% or more officers will violate their oaths and not report for duty, Catanzara is encouraging an unlawful strike and work stoppage which carries the potential to undermine public safety and expose our residents to irreparable harm, particularly during an ongoing pandemic.
This action is brought pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and Illinois common law which prohibits sworn officers from engaging in a strike. Additionally, the City and the FOP are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment including Article 5 which includes a No Strike Commitment.”
The police union claims half of CPD’s force is willing to defy the deadline, and force their bosses to send them home.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the mandate won’t change, and Chicago police brass has maintained the streets will stay protected, even if cops are not in compliance.