CHICAGO – The head of the Chicago police officers union has called on its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the workweek. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who won’t submit to semiweekly coronavirus testing will be placed on unpaid leave.
Catanzara urges rank-and-file officers not to comply.
“It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up,” Catanzara said. “That is not because of the FOP. That is 100% because of the mayor’s unwillingness to budge from her hard line.
“It is the city’s clear attempt to force officers with a ‘chicken little, the sky is falling,’ into compliance – do not fall for it. Hold the line.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’s holding firm on the vaccine mandate for all city employees, including cops.
“John Cantazara says a lot of things, a lot of it offensive, and racist and foolish,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot adds that the union president’s stance amounts to irresponsible bluster, which is dangerous for police and the public.
“It’s unfortunate that the FOP leadership has chosen to put out a counternarrative, but the fact of the matter is that if you are not vaccinated, you are playing with your life, the life of your family, the life of your colleagues and the members of the public,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor called vaccination the “only smart option” in dealing with the pandemic.
Catanzara said his legal team has drafted a “class action” grievance against the city to cover “everything under the sun.”