Chicago Mayor Lightfoot and Police Union at Odds Over Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Just what is the city of Chicago’s vaccine mandate for city employees? Who does it apply to? And if reporting your vaccine status is voluntary, how can the city enforce its own mandate?


October 1 was the day that the city of Chicago’s workers had to get their final shot in order to comply with the October 15 deadline. Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned that “there would be consequences” for those who failed to get jabbed.

But she was necessarily vague. The mandate says that city workers have to send their proof of vaccination card in by the 15th. But there’s no word on what happens to city employees who refuse, just her ominous threat of “consequences.”

And the police union is fighting the notion that the mandate applies to them at all.


“As of now, the City has not issued a formal mandate. Only draft proposals have been presented by each side,” said FOP President John Catanzara Jr. “As of today, any compliance with the self-reporting vaccination portal is strictly VOLUNTARY.”

The mayor set a deadline for reporting vaccine status by Oct. 15.

The unions said they would continue to negotiate and bargain with the city on the topic of issuing a vaccine mandate.

Lightfoot is not pleased with the Chicago police — again. But with a statement like this, she still wonders why they hate her so much?

Every employee in the City of Chicago has to be vaccinated. 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. Seen the grief of these families who are devastated by the loss of their family members. The fact that we know the number one cause of 2020 of law enforcement was Covid-19 nothing else. When in this city we have people in the hospitals in ICU rooms clinging on for their lives, many of them are law enforcement officers that are unvaccinated. It is foolish, 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.


No one is taking a “victory lap.” The cops are concerned because the arrogant mayor never negotiated the terms of the mandate with the police union.

If she had, they might have avoided confusion like this.

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.

Lightfoot can be forgiven if she’s a little distracted. Murders went up in Chicago by 56 percent last year and they’re trending higher yet in 2021. And just last week, senior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was driving through Chicago when someone in the car next to him leaned out a window and began firing. The incident led influential Democratic strategist David Axelrod to urge Lightfoot to declare a “public safety emergency.” 

That won’t happen because to Lightfoot, that would be an admission of defeat in her war with the Chicago police. The cops want the city to take the foot off their necks and let them get on with their jobs. Lightfoot has too much invested in “police reform” to do that.


That “reform” is causing a massive drop in morale among police officers who feel that they have unfairly become a punching bag for activists and politicians. The vaccine mandate is just more evidence that Lightfoot would rather use police as set-piece villains in her little police brutality drama than as partners in public safety.


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