Chicago’s police union is urging members to “hold the line” and refuse to submit to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara added that there may be fewer officers on the streets this weekend because of Lightfoot’s orders.
Lightfoot announced in August that all city employees — including police and firefighters — must show proof of being vaccinated by Friday, October 15. But the union has stood against the vaccine mandate since day one. And now that the deadline is upon them, Catanzara is urging officers not to submit.
The mayor also insisted that employees who refuse to take the vaccination will be placed on unpaid status.
Lightfoot threatened city employees, saying, “There will be consequences if people are not complying with what the policy is by the Oct. 15th deadline.”
For his part, Catanzara blasted the mayor for her intransigence and accused the city of refusing to “bargain in good faith over this subject.”
“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,” Catanzara said, according to WGN Channel 9.
The union chief added that FOP lawyers are filing a class action lawsuit against the city over the mandate and said that they could lose “everything under the sun” if such a mandate is allowed to pass.
Catanzara warned that the city may suffer from fewer officers on the job.
“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.”
“I can guarantee you that no-pay status will not last more than 30 days,” Catanzara added. “There’s no way they’re going to be able to sustain a police department workforce at 50% capacity or less for more than seven days without something budging.”
Catanzara also said that if officers stood together, the mayor’s no-pay policy would collapse.
The mayor insisted that she was going to “hold people accountable” and blasted the union for endangering people.
“It’s unfortunate that the FOP leadership has chosen to put out a counternarrative,” Lightfoot said, “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.”
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