Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that an arbitrator has ruled in favor of the city’s vaccine mandate for sworn members of the Chicago Police Department, saying that she hopes the ruling will pave the way for more officers to get COVID vaccine shots.
The Fraternal Order of Police had challenged the city’s mandate, but the ruling by an arbitrator upheld Lightfoot’s decision to enact the regulation.
At last count, more than 80 police personnel were stripped of their police powers and put on no-pay status for refusing to comply with the mandate.
“The arbitrator ruled that our vaccine mandate for sworn members is valid now, and that their grievance is denied,” Lightfoot said after a meeting of the Chicago City Council.
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The mayor says that members who are not yet vaccinated will be provided a timetable by which they will need to get their first and second COVID shots.
The Illinois Labor Board had granted a hearing on the issue after the FOP filed a grievance against the city.
The arbitrator’s ruling now means that officers can face discipline and even termination for refusing to get the COVID vaccine.
Lightfoot hopes that the ruling will encourage more members to get their shots, and to continue their work with the department.
“My hope is that with the arbitrator’s ruling…that this is going to be the signal for those members who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated,” she said. “What we’ve seen over time is that the number of members that are actually vaccinated continues to inch up.”