A Cook County judge won’t throw out Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate entirely, but in a ruling Monday he has put a hold on a Dec. 31 deadline for members of the Chicago Police Department to get fully vaccinated.
Fraternal Order of Police
Approximately 130 employees — most of whom are members of the Chicago Fire Department and the Department of Water Management — were not likely to succeed on any of their claims, the judge ruled.
The Chicago City Council voted 13-30 Friday to reject a push to reverse Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s order that all city employees disclose whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — and get fully vaccinated by Dec. 31.
Thirteen alderpeople invoked state law to call a special meeting of the Chicago City Council for 11 a.m. Friday in an attempt to force a vote on a measure that would reverse Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s order that all city employees disclose their vaccination status.
Cook County Judge Cecilia Horan on Monday evening denied a request seeking to extend a temporary restraining order against John Catanzara, who had repeatedly urged Fraternal Order of Police members not to give their vaccination status to Chicago officials.
Authored by Alds. Silvana Tabares (23rd Ward) and Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward), the measure to give alderpeople the final say over whether employees could be disciplined for flouting the vaccine mandate was sent to the legislative purgatory of the City Council’s Rules Committee.
Fraternal Order of Police attorneys argued Cook County Judge Cecilia Horan should step aside because she didn’t disclose that a law firm she previously worked at was involved with the Police Accountability Task Force, which was chaired by Lori Lightfoot prior to her election as Chicago mayor.
More than 35.6% of the Chicago Police department — 4,543 employees — are in jeopardy of being disciplined and eventually fired for failing to disclose their vaccination status to the city.
A Cook County judge ordered Police Union President John Catanzara on Friday to stop making public statements on social media or in the media that encourage police officers not to comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate until a hearing Oct. 25.
Police and other first responders — who come in close physical contact with Chicagoans — must be vaccinated to protect the health and safety of Chicagoans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara's actions and rhetoric "threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
In a video posted online Tuesday, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce a mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the work week.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez said those staffers who are not fully vaccinated by Friday’s deadline must consent to weekly testing, but will not be immediately barred from working, as had previously been threatened.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged that she cannot force alderpeople to get vaccinated against COVID-19 since they are independently elected and do not report to the mayor.
The mayor said Wednesday she would not delay her order to require all city workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15 — despite pushback from the unions representing Chicago’s 11,000 police officers.
It took more than four years to negotiate a new deal with the police union, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot demanded changes to the way officers are investigated after a 2017 probe by the U.S. Department of Justice found police officers routinely violated the civil rights of Black and Latino Chicagoans.