Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate

Chicago Drops Lawsuit Against Police Union Chief Over Vaccine Mandate Comments

The city and union are still at odds over the vaccine mandate

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Fraternal Board of Police President John Catanzara announced plans to potentially run for mayor in 2023, and said his resignation would deprive Lightfoot of the chance to say that she had fired him from the department. “Let him run,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot commenting on the announcement.

In the latest turn of the city’s battle against the Chicago police union over a vaccine mandate for city employees, the Department of Law has dismissed a lawsuit against the Fraternal Order of Police that sought to prevent the union's chief from encouraging members to go against the provisions of the order, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

According to a press release from Lightfoot’s office, the move to drop the lawsuit was made at her direction.

“This Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief was initially filed in response to the president of FOP Lodge 7, John Catanzara, repeatedly calling for his members to engage in an illegal work stoppage or strike, which is strictly prohibited under Illinois law,” Lightfoot said. “The past few weeks have shown 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 Catanzara’s frivolous demands to stop working.”

Lightfoot says that city leadership could re-file the lawsuit if the FOP or Catanzara takes “further action toward encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike.”

The mayor’s office says that a growing number of police officers have come into compliance with the vaccination policy, which requires all city employees to enter their vaccination status into an information portal, or face disciplinary action.

All city workers who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to take bi-weekly COVID tests, at their own expense, and all city workers who do not have an approved exemption would be required to get their COVID vaccines by the end of the year under the policy.

The Chicago police union has pushed back aggressively against the directives, with Catanzara encouraging officers to not put their information into the portal.

Originally, a restraining order was issued against Catanzara to prevent him from publicly making those statements, but that order has since been lifted.

In early November, a Cook County judge issued a restraining order to prevent the city from firing officers that had not been vaccinated against the virus, but the order left in place the reporting mandate.