The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police recently opposed an impending mandate from Mayor Lori Lightfoot that would require all city officers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The union’s president, John Catanzaro, said that the group is “100% against mandated vaccines for our members” and that the vaccine has no studies for long-term side effects of consequences. He went on to say that mandating the vaccine without that data as a baseline is a “hell no” for us. If only every company had that sort of common sense for their employees.
Mayor Lightfoot announced the mandate for officers, which would be effective Oct. 15. She had announced a similar vaccine mandate for city employees earlier in the week, as well as reinstating her indoor mask mandate amid concerns of the delta variant. Lightfoot stated that city employees are “absolutely going” to be required to be vaccinated and that they are working with organized labor to represent the city employees. But officers have continued to fight back against the vaccine mandates for law enforcement.
“It ain’t just our guys. It’s the sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. This is a united front. All four of the unions. It’s no longer John Catanzara’s big mouth like they like to spin it all the time,” Catanzaro said.
Lightfoot later emphasized that they absolutely need to have a vaccine mandate for the “safety of all involved” and those interacting with members of the public on a daily basis. She said it’s important for colleagues to feel they are in a “safe workplace” and that she’ll make specific announcements in the coming days.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also issued a mask mandate for school children and state employees working in populated facilities. He later issued a vaccine mandate for state employees working in prisons, juvenile detention facilities, veterans’ homes, and state facilities for the mentally and developmentally disabled.
Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker continue to warn residents of the “dangerous stats” and “rising cases” without providing any proof or data to follow. They’ve just continued to negotiate about the specifics of a vaccine mandate for some 33,000 city employees. Lightfoot continued to voice her support for full vaccine mandates for city employees after the Food & Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years and older.
Chicago Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also issued an executive order to require all Chicago Public School employees and county employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 15 or qualify for a religious or medical exemption. Some universities are instilling similar restrictions on their students, even going so far as to threaten unenrolling those without the jab. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all city employees will be required to show proof of vaccination or be subjected to weekly COVID testing come mid-September.
Officers are fighting these mandates, and Lightfoot in particular, because they know the issue is with the government, not the vaccine. If the government had stayed out of this, more people would be vaccinated. But the more the government pushes, the more the people will push back.
Not to mention that officers already work in all areas of the city and most likely have a higher level of natural immunity to COVID-19 than most. It is also not a coincidence that some of the higher levels of unvaccinated are in the medical profession because they are better protected than most people. Employers or city officials who force their employees to get an experimental drug should be held financially responsible for all and any negative side effects…not to mention the unknown long-term side effects.