Two Chicago aldermen, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano, recently filed an ordinance to appeal Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate that would put city employees on a no-pay status if they refuse the jab. The two argued how at the “heart of the matter” is union rights, not the vaccine itself. While 70% of officers have complied in entering their vaccination status, 20 have refused the COVID-19 shot. Tabares said she is vaccinated, but that it is about protecting the collective bargaining rights of all union workers.
“I filed an ordinance this morning that would repeal the vaccine mandate and to require city council approval on any future mandates. What I disagree with is the mayor making this decision and forcing it down people’s throats,” Tabares said.
The city has been fighting back against those questioning the vaccine. The city was even granted a request by a judge to ban Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara from encouraging members to defy the mandate. They accused him of trying to encourage workers to “go on strike,” even though the mandate is a clear violation of their collective bargaining agreement.
Catanzara shared in a video that the city cannot force officers on a no-pay status for more than 30 days, adding that there’s “no way” they’d be able to sustain a police department workforce at 50% capacity or less for more than seven days.
“I’ve made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody — let alone that information about your medical history,” Catanzara said.
Mayor Lightfoot has even gone so far as to accuse police officers of trying to “induce an insurrection” for protesting her mandate. She said the Fraternal Order Police was pushing out a lot of “half-truths” and “flat-out lies,” adding that Catanzara “destroyed” his police career.
“If you ignore a directive of your supervisor or worse, a direct order that’s lawfully given, you’re going to destroy your career. That is going to follow you forever. Over what? Going to a website. Clicking yes or no. And if no, saying that you’re going to sign up for testing? Really? That’s worth it? I don’t think it is,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot moved ahead and asked the courts to intervene, in which Lightfoot and the police unions have sued each other. Police union lawyers, on the other hand, are claiming that the vaccine reporting requirement is a “new condition of employment” and was improperly imposed without collective bargaining. They went on to say that an officer’s refusal to disclose his/her vaccination status does not pose a “clear and present danger” to the public’s health and safety.
“This could have all been avoided, but it literally has been like everything else with this mayor for the last two and a half years: ‘Do it or else. Because I said so.’ Well, we say otherwise,” Catanzara pushed back against Lightfoot’s suit.
“Defending freedom” seems almost pointless to talk about when the government agencies and all of their officials are doing everything they can to take it away (and make you avoid questioning it). It’s hard to push vaccine mandates when people are still getting sick.