Chicago police union president pushes back against COVID vaccine mandate

Rob Elgas Image
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
FOP president urges officers to not comply with city vaccine mandate
The Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara urged officers not to comply with Mayor Lori Lightfoot's COVID vaccine mandate for Chicago while promising legal action.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Fraternal Order of Police is promising legal action to block Mayor Lori Lightfoot's COVID vaccine mandate for Chicago, even as the union mourns the loss of a former president to the virus.

Chicago's vaccine mandate is set to take effect Friday.

"It literally has been like everything else with this mayor the last two and a half years," said FOP President John Catanzara. "Do it or else because I said so."

In a social media post Tuesday, Catanzara urged his members to not comply with the vaccine mandate. The message was issued the same day former FOP president Dean Angelo died from COVID-19.

Angelo served as FOP president from 2014 to 2017, and leading up to his death he was in the intensive care unit in critical condition.

All city workers, including police officers, have until Friday to submit proof of vaccination or be placed into "no pay" status. Their only other option is to take two COVID tests weekly at their own expense.

Catanazara is promising legal action.

"We're notifying the city the demand for expedited arbitration along with filing unfair labor practice with the labor board," he said. "Tomorrow we'll be filing court paperwork for a temporary restraining order."

Earlier this month, Mayor Lightfoot said, "There will be consequences if people are not complying with what the policy is by October 15th."

The mayor said the citywide mandate is about keeping workers healthy.