Posts Tagged Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

An arbitrator has ruled that several unions representing Chicago firefighters and other city employees must follow Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. The ruling means that the union employees will lose pay if they do not receive a first shot by Dec. 31. They must get a second shot by Jan. 31 if they choose a two-dose vaccine.

The ruling issued Wednesday applies to the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 21, Service Employees International Union Local 73, Teamsters Local 700, and Coalition of Unionized Public Employees.

The ruling does not apply to members of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which has been engaged in a bitter battle with the mayor over the mandate. A Cook County judge suspended the Dec. 31 vaccination deadline for police and sent the issue to arbitration, which begins Dec. 27.


The city’s law department praised Wednesday’s decision, which comes after dozens of firefighters and paramedics who defied the reporting requirement were placed on no-pay status and sent home.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

A federal judge on Friday denied a motion by 130 Chicago firefighters and other city employees to temporarily halt enforcement of the city’s requirement that all its workers report whether they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccination or risk being put on no-pay status.

During an hourlong hearing, U.S. District Judge John Lee methodically dismantled arguments made in the lawsuit. He said, for example, that he saw no evidence that either Mayor Lori Lightfoot or Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker exceeded their authority by imposing mandates earlier this year to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

The judge also pointed to a host of problems and shortcomings in the lawsuit, including what he said was a lack of scientific evidence to support the contention that the natural immunity for people who have had the virus is superior to the protection from the vaccine.

Lee said employees were making the same arguments that the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of appeals rejected just this summer when it ruled that Indiana University could proceed with its plan to require students and employees to get vaccinated for the virus. And he said the court had rejected the argument made by the students and the city employees that forcing them to receive an unwanted medical treatment was a violation of their constitutional rights.

While the judge said attorneys for the city employees had shown a likelihood that they would ultimately be successful in any of their claims, he did not dismiss the lawsuit and told the attorneys to return by the end of next week to provide more information.

Lee’s ruling comes amid a heated battle over the vaccine mandate ordered by Lightfoot, with the police officers’ union arguing she has no right to penalize officers who defy it.

Tags: , , ,

Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from

There were worries late Thursday that the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate could be creating safety concerns with the Chicago Fire Department. There has been a lot of attention on the fight by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police over the city’s vaccine mandate. But the city is facing another lawsuit – brought by firefighters and workers with the Chicago Department of Water Management. The fight is set to end up in federal court on Friday.

Twenty eight Chicago firefighters and paramedics are sitting out without pay for not complying with vaccine rules. The CFD is moving paramedics from fire engines to the ambulances. What that does is downgrade care available on fire trucks. Engine companies with the highest level of care are certified to provide Advanced Life Support. That means one paramedic is on board, with just about everything found in an ambulance. But because the fire department is being forced to backfill, the Union says six companies on Monday and three Wednesday could only provide Basic Life Support, with no paramedic.

In a statement, the Chicago Fire Department said that downgrading is not an uncommon occurrence and that no fire or ambulance companies have been put out of service or limited service due to personnel issues. But the union disagrees.

The firefighters’ union president said he discussed this issue with Mayor Lori Lightfoot briefly on Friday, stressing something has to change. He plans to continue those talks Friday at a special city council meeting addressing the vaccine mandate.

Tags: ,