2 aldermen file ordinance seeking to repeal Chicago vaccine mandate

Chicago police vaccine mandate currently being fought by FOP President John Catanzara

Craig Wall Image
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Chicago aldermen file ordinance to repeal COVID vaccine mandate
The ordinance, filed by Aldermen Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano, seeks to make sure that any policy that puts city employees on no-pay status requires City Council approval.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two Chicago aldermen Thursday filed an ordinance to repeal the COVID vaccine mandate established by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The ordinance, filed by Aldermen Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano, seeks to make sure that any policy that puts city employees on no-pay status requires City Council approval.

Tabares said at the heart of the matter is union rights, not the vaccine itself. She was one of six aldermen who sent a letter to the mayor last month opposing the mandate.

"I filed an ordinance this morning that would repeal the vaccine mandate and to require city council approval on any future mandates," Tabares said.

Late Thursday afternoon, Chicago Police provided updated numbers, saying now there are only 20 officers who have refused direct orders to enter their vaccination status in the city's portal, and are stripped of their police powers and on no-pay status. A spokesperson saying nearly 70% of officers have complied, up from 64% on Monday.

Tabares said she and her family are vaccinated, but the proposed ordinance is not about the vaccine but about protecting collective bargaining rights of union workers.

"What I disagree with is the mayor making this decision and forcing it down people's throats," she said.

The Fraternal Order of Police has filed a temporary restraining order asking a judge to block the mandate and order the city into arbitration. That is pending. A different judge last Friday granted the city request to ban FOP President John Catanzara from encouraging members to defy the mandate.

City officials accused Catanzara of trying to encourage and illegal work stoppage, or strike, by telling members to defy the mandate. He said the city's requirement is a violation of their collective bargaining agreement.

Thursday in court judge Moshe Jacobius ordering both cases to be handled by a single judge. But he scolded the two sides saying, "There's been some comments, you know about lowering the volume and lowering the flames, you know and working in commonality for the people of the city of Chicago and I think the parties should take that to heart."

WATCH: Political analyst weighs in on CPD vaccine mandate battle

An ABC7 Chicago political analyst weighed in on the CPD vaccine mandate battle Thursday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot once again defending her mandate Thursday, and ripped Tabares for supporting the FOP's efforts.

"I think people in her ward need to ask, why is it that this older woman is carrying the water for a guy like that. She knows very well, this will never see the light of day. But the fact that she's willing to put her name on it is something really quite extraordinary. And frankly, dangerous," the mayor said.

Tabares is working to gather co-sponsors for her proposal. She has 10, but needs 25. But the mayor is vowing to do everything she can to stop it.

But Chicago police officials are ramping up their efforts to get CPD officers to obey the city mandate, saying safety is their top priority.

CPD Superintendent David Brown said less than two dozen officers have been sent home without pay for refusing. He also said the number of officers in compliance has gone up a percentage point again to more than 68% Wednesday.

RELATED: Chicago Fire Department sends 4 firefighters home for withholding COVID-19 vaccination statuses

Officers who have not complied with the mandate by either refusing to upload vaccine status to the city's online portal or who have not gotten vaccinated and won't submit to testing are being taken off the streets and put on no-pay status, as the mandate requires.

The mandate gave all city employees until last Friday to get vaccinated. The department with the lowest level of compliance was the police department.

The city said there haven't been any staffing shortages so far, and none are anticipated.

Brown said the officers are being misinformed by the union.