Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is dropping the lawsuit after finding that most officers ignored union leaders’ calls to resist the city’s vaccine mandate.
The City of Chicago has dismissed its lawsuit against Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which encouraged local officers to disobey the city’s vaccine mandate.
According to ABC7, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismissed the city’s lawsuit on Wednesday, after city attorneys found that most of the Lodge’s officers had already received coronavirus vaccinations.
However, Lightfoot’s office emphasized that, should the Fraternal Order of Police or Lodge 7’s union president, John Catanzara, take any “further action toward encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike, we can and immediately will refile this action.”
Lightfoot said that the lawsuit against Lodge 7 was because Catanzara was “repeatedly calling for his members to engage in an illegal work stoppage or strike, which is strictly prohibited under Illinois law.”
NBC Chicago notes that, under the Chicago’s new coronavirus policy, all city workers who have not yet been vaccinated against novel coronavirus will have to take bi-weekly tests at their own expense. All city workers are also required to get vaccinated by the end of the year.
The city’s policy attracted some criticism. The police union took particular issue with the impending vaccine mandate, with F.O.P. Lodge 7’s leadership encouraging officers to derelict their duty and refuse to upload their vaccination status or test results online.
Nevertheless, Lightfoot said she felt the lawsuit was no longer worth pursuing.
In a statement, the mayor said that, for the past several weeks, she’s seen “what I have said from the beginning to be true: that our brave police officers are smarter than their FOP leadership, and care more about their city, their fellow Chicagoans, and upholding their sworn oath to protect and serve, than they do about Catanzara’s frivolous demands to stop working.”
Lightfoot said that vaccination rates among Chicago police officers and other emergency services personnel have been steadily rising since mid-October.
“From day one when this requirement was announced in August, this entire process has been and will continue to be about protecting the lives and safety of all Chicagoans,” Lightfoot said in a press release. “The data shows that we are succeeding in that mission, and that police officers recognize that protecting and serving in the times of global pandemic means ensuring that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.”
“The number of officers who have come into compliance with the City’s vaccine reporting mandate, as well as the mandatory vaccination policy, have continued to grow since October 15th,” Lightfoot wrote. “I have complete confidence that the entire Department will be in compliance with City policy in the near future.”