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The ongoing vaccine wars are raging especially hot in Chicago, where Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara is encouraging local cops to not abide by the city’s mandate and warning that up to 50 percent of the force may be absent once the mandate goes into effect.
“The head of Chicago’s police union has advised officers not to comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine reporting requirement and says members should be willing to be sent home without pay rather than submit to the shot mandate for city workers,” the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.
“With city employees’ vaccine status deadline Friday, Fraternal Order of Police Local 7 President John Catanzara also said in a video posted Tuesday that the union has filed a labor grievance against the city and plans to pursue legal action to fight the mandate,” the Tribune added.
Instituted last month by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the mandate requires that all city workers, including cops, submit their vaccination status by Oct. 15th. Those who are unvaccinated will then be required to undergo biweekly testing — paid out of their own pockets — until the end of the year.
At year’s end, they’ll likely then be fired. Meanwhile, anyone who fails to submit their information on the 15th will be placed on a “non-disciplinary, no-pay status,” presumably til the end of the year, when they too will probably be fired.
Folks, if you work for the city of @chicago, today is your last day to receive your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. You MUST be fully vaccinated by October 15.
The vaccine is free and there’s more than enough. This is about safety and saving lives.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) October 1, 2021
In the video mentioned by the Tribune, Catanzara urged union members to not submit their information and vowed that the Chicago Police Department will be at 50 percent capacity this upcoming weekend endless Lightfoot backs down.
“If we get a large number of our members to stand firm on their beliefs that this is an overreach and they’re not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to the testing, then it’s safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up,” he said.
He added that the blame will lie entirely with Lightfoot over her “unwillingness to budge from her hard line.”
Watch the full video below:
Catanzara continued by admitting that “it’s a pain in the ass” but stressing that it’s fundamental that officers stand up for their right to not have to share their private medical information with the city.
“I know it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s the city’s clear attempt to force officers to chicken-little disguise falling into compliance. Do not fall for it. Hold the line!” he said.
“The simple fact that they keep putting out public statements, emails and having bosses call you means one thing: Our members are holding the line, and officers from all ranks are not going into that portal. They clearly must have a very, very low cooperation level, which is good. It’s information they shouldn’t be entitled to,” he added.
Lightfoot feels otherwise. Speaking with reporters at the end of an unrelated press conference Wednesday, she expressed doubt over Catanzara’s claim that 50 percent of officers will walk out rather than abide by her mandate.
“I don’t expect that to happen. And again, I’m gonna be focused on the positive, which is, the whole point that all of our city employees — whether they are sworn or civilian — do their duty and make sure they get vaccinated,” she said.
“I believe that, as a city government, we’ve got to lead by example. … The only way that we can make this real is we’ve got to hold people accountable. And we are absolutely prepared to do that,” she added.
It’s not clear if she’s in a position to lecture others about leading by example:
Chicago mayor defends getting haircut after her $500 stay-at-home violation fines: ‘I am the face of the city’ https://t.co/9eHo9DOYBT via @BIZPACReview
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 7, 2020
She also threw some shade at Catanzara, a man with whom she’s been beefing with since she took office in 2019.
“John Catanzara says a lot of things. A lot of it offensive and racist and foolish. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll be prepared for any eventuality,” she said.
Last year, she slammed the FOP president for the supposed crime of desperately asking then-President Donald Trump to send in federal troops to quell the endless streak in violent crime that her lax-on-crime policies have engendered.
To this day, Chicago still remains one of the most dangerous cities in the country, with dozens of shootings being reported every single weekend. Just this past weekend, in fact, four were killed and 38 wounded, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Listen to the mayor’s remarks from the 54:00 minute mark below:
WATCH LIVE: Mayor Lightfoot joins City Colleges of Chicago and other City leaders for the grand opening of Innovation One: Technology, Training and Resource Center at Truman College. https://t.co/XVZQgaUDh2
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) October 13, 2021
Catanzara isn’t alone in lobbying against the vaccine mandate.
According to local station WLS, multiple aldermen — including Marty Quinn, Matt O’Shea and Anthony Napolitano — have raised concerns about the mandate because “our communities will be put in danger” if cops do indeed walkout.
For now, Lightfoot appears to be ignoring the aldermen just like she’s ignored the city’s endless crime wave.
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