CHICAGO — A Cook County judge sided with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and granted a temporary restraining order blocking a vaccine mandate for employees of the Chicago Police Department. The directive was previously issued by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The order from Judge Raymond Mitchell blocks the city from firing members of the FOP for not meeting a Dec. 31 deadline of vaccination until the FOP’s arguments are heard by an arbitrator. However, the city can still place police officers on a no-pay status if they fail to report their vaccination status by the previous Oct. 15 deadline, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The order is restricted to members of the police union and does not apply to other city workers, according to the news outlet.
“The City’s counsel suggested at oral argument that it might be possible to arbitrate the grievances before December 31, 2021, but that is a matter for the parties to resolve among themselves,” Mitchell wrote in the order, WTTW reported. “So, the only remedy left to protect the unions’ right to meaningful arbitration is to stay in compliance with the December 31 vaccination requirement until such time as the arbitration is complete.”
The FOP sought the restraining order to force arbitration on the matter last week.
“We’re simply asking this judge to force the city to stop their policy, put officers back to work, and force the city to go back to the bargaining table and arbitration,” FOP President John Catanzara Jr. said at the time, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The judge’s ruling comes after Catanzara told officers to be steadfast and defy the city’s vaccine reporting mandate, Law Officer reported.
“Everything from this mayor is a dictatorship,” Catanzara said of Lightfoot on “Fox & Friends” last month. “She just decided she was going to do it and push it on the entire city workforce across the board.”