October 16, 2021

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Clashes With Police Union Over Forced Vaccinations

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Mayor Lightfoot Clashes With Police Union Over Forced Vaccinations

Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed Friday there would be “consequences” for any city employees who aren’t fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, according to reports, as the city continued negotiations with labor unions. 

Lightfoot and the Fraternal Order of Police disagreed on whether her requirement affected its members, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

The union said in a statement that the deadline would apply only to coronavirus testing and no one’s pay would be affected, adding that self-reporting of vaccination status was “voluntary.”

But Lightfoot, a Democrat, denied there was leeway for union members.

“Every employee in the City of Chicago has to be vaccinated,” she said in a news conference Friday, according to FOX 32 in Chicago. “I haven’t gotten the full reading from the meeting today, but it is foolish that we buried four police officers who have died of COVID. We just last week memorialized their stars at CPD headquarters.” 

She added that it was “foolish to be trying to take a victory lap when so much is at stake. Unfortunately, that is in keeping with the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police. They will be vaccinated.”

Friday was the last day to get the shot (the second shot for Pfizer and Moderna) to assure the employee is fully vaccinated by the deadline – because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.

Lightfoot gave no specifics on what the “consequences” for not being vaccinated would be, speaking only of “further steps that are taken,” according to the Tribune.

“What I’m saying is there will be consequences if people are not complying with what the policy is by Oct. 15,” adding that she believes in “accountability” and hopes workers will voluntarily abide by the requirement, FOX 32 reported. 

In a position that seemed to contradict the mayor, city Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city initially would have testing requirements for employees not vaccinated by the deadline, the Tribune reported. 

City officials should try to be consistent in their explanations of policies, Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter said in a statement, stressing its union hadn’t signed on to the vaccination requirement.

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