Judge Hands Chicago Police Union Boss a Restraining Order to Stop Telling Members Not to Comply With Vaccine Mandate
“the latest twist in the high-stakes standoff between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the local police union over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate”
Local Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara received a restraining order to stop telling his members not to comply with Chicago’s COVID vaccine mandate:
Cook County Circuit Judge Cecilia Horan ruled there was potential irreparable harm if local Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara persisted in making such statements. City attorneys argued they were tantamount to him advocating “sedition” and “anarchy” because he was directing members to disobey an order from their superiors.
It was the latest twist in the high-stakes standoff between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the local police union over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. With both sides accusing the other of illegally risking the safety of the city over the issue, the fight shifted into the courts Friday with dueling lawsuits.
Lightfoot asked the courts to intervene after the union chief told members to disobey Friday’s deadline to report their vaccine status. The local Fraternal Order of Police in turn filed its own lawsuit against the city, mayor and police Superintendent David Brown that seeks to force arbitration over the matter.
The restraining order lasts until October 25 when another court session begins.
Attorney Michael Warner accused Catanzara of holding Chicago hostage and calling for an illegal strike since the FOP cannot strike due to contracts.
Warner admitted the police union does not like the vaccination reporting policy.
Lightfoot embraced the ruling and slammed Catanzara:
“As Chicago’s Mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders,” Lightfoot said in a statement issued Friday morning. Catanzara “has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order,” she said.
The mayor claims Catanzara is “engaging in, supporting, and encouraging a work stoppage or strike.” State law and the FOP contract both prohibit striking by Chicago police.
Chicago’s crime and violence are still major problems. The city could lose almost half of its police force due to no vaccinations.
The FOP also asked the court to tell the city it needs “to engage in arbitration over the vaccine reporting requirement” since “it’s a new condition of employment improperly imposed without collective bargaining.”
The union lawyers claimed the police not reporting their vaccination status does not make them a “clear and present danger” to the city’s health and safety.DONATE
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