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Just hours after the Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer COVID vaccine its seal of approval Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that jabs “are absolutely going to be required” for all city employees.
But her declaration went over like a lead balloon with vast swathes of city workers who are telling the mayor to check herself, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Especially ticked are officers with the Chicago Police Department whose union made it clear where cops stand: “Hell, no.”
And the mayor can expect to see them in court, WFLD-TV reported.
Mayor Lightfoot, who has had long-running issues with Chicago cops, said Monday, “We absolutely have to have a vaccine mandate. It’s for the safety of all involved, particularly members of the public who are interacting with city employees on a daily basis. It’s important for colleagues to also feel like they have a workplace that is safe,” the Sun-Times reported.
“City employees are absolutely gonna be required to be vaccinated,” she continued. “We’re working through those discussions, which have been ongoing now for a couple of weeks with our colleagues in organized labor that represent city employees.”
The mandate will require all city employees, including police, to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.
The mayor’s call was immediately met with pushback from Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, who said the city’s police are adamantly opposed to a mandate — which could mean the city could be short thousands of cops come mid-October.
“We are 100% against mandated vaccines for our members,” he told WFLD.
“It cannot be mandated. It’s that simple. Our members don’t want to be mandated to do anything like that,” Catanzara told the Sun-Times following Lightfoot’s announcement. “This vaccine has no studies for long-term side effects or consequences. None. To mandate anybody to get that vaccine, without that data as a baseline, amongst other issues, is a ‘Hell, no’ for us.”
Catanzara doubled down on the issue in a followup interview with the newspaper Wednesday.
“We’re in America, God***n it,” he said. “We don’t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This ain’t Nazi f***ing Germany, [where they say], ‘Step into the f***ing showers. The pills won’t hurt you.’ What the f***?”
“Nobody knows what the long term side effects could possibly be. Nobody,” he went on. “And anybody who says they do are full of s**t.”
And he had a clear warning for he mayor.
“It ain’t just our guys. It’s the sergeants, lieutenants and captains. This is a united front,” he said. “It’s no longer John Catanzara’s big mouth, like they like to spin it all the time.”
“This has literally lit a bomb underneath the membership,” Catanzara continued. “And what are they gonna do when four or five thousand coppers say, ‘Screw you. I’m staying home. You’re not making me get this f***ing vaccination. Don’t pay me. That’s fine. We’ll see you in court.'”
He noted that police were not threatening some sort of sick-out protest. Instead, it was a reflection of reality in a city that’s discussing “putting people on no-pay status who refuse to get” the shot.
The truth is quite clear, for Catanzara and his police members: “You’re not gonna pay me. You’re gonna make me stay home. But you’re gonna have thousands of coppers willing to stay home, not getting paid to not get a vaccine and then, what are you gonna do for manpower on the streets?”