* I was told by the governor’s office this morning that the deadline for the state’s congregate-setting workers to receive their first vaccine dose has been extended to October 26, from October 14 (and that date was also an extension). “Negotiations are going well,” a Pritzker official said about the talks with AFSCME and the Teamsters. Here’s WICS…
Thursday marked the deadline for all state workers in congregate care facilities, like prisons and veterans homes, in Illinois to receive at least their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, or AFSCME, said they are still in negotiations with the state about the implementation of the governors vaccine mandate for congregate care workers and without an agreement, they say the deadline really means nothing to them. […]
According to employment lawyer Carl Draper, the governor and his departments are well within their rights to start punishing employees who are not vaccinated by the deadlines.
* Meanwhile, things aren’t nearly as professionally cordial in Chicago. FOP President John Catanzara took to YouTube yesterday to advise his members that the city had blinked and said they should refuse any direct order from superiors to disclose their vaccine status…
Apparently, the city blinked a little bit here and backtracked. Everybody will be getting paid come midnight tomorrow night. You will not be sent home from work. They are saying you still have to respond to the order by midnight tomorrow night or be subjected to possible discipline in the future, whatever that may be, whenever they determine.
The new thing seems to be that they are going to have supervisors give direct orders to enter information in the portal. I’m telling you right now. It is an improper order. It is illegal. It is the same as the mayor telling you. You have to refuse that order.
“As you might imagine, it’s gonna take us a little bit of time to make sure that we’ve got information correct. And we want to make sure that we’re reaching out to people who appear not to be in compliance to determine if that’s, in fact, so,” Lightfoot told a news conference after Thursday’s City Council meeting.
“We want to do belt-and-suspenders on this and give people the benefit of the doubt. But, once we understand that people have not complied with the simple request to say yes or no or that I’m going to take the testing options, then, yes, we will be moving forward and putting people into no-pay status.”
Lightfoot hedged when asked how long it might take for City Hall to check and double-check.
“It’s not gonna be weeks. But it’s not gonna be Saturday or Sunday. It’s gonna take us … a couple of days to make sure that we’ve got the information correct… I don’t think that process will be complete over the weekend,” she said.
* And the city has asked for an injunction against the FOP. Friday morning press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot…
Yesterday, at my direction the City of Chicago’s law department filed a Complaint for Injunctive Relief against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 and its President John Catanzara for engaging in, supporting, and encouraging a work stoppage or strike.
As Chicago’s Mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders. President Catanzara has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order. Notably Catanzara has urged officers to reject the City’s vaccine policy and has repeatedly instructed police officers to refuse to comply with the City’s lawful directive which requires all City employees to report their COVID 19 vaccination status by October 15. By doing so, and by predicting that 50% or more officers will violate their oaths and not report for duty, Catanzara is encouraging an unlawful strike and work stoppage which carries the potential to undermine public safety and expose our residents to irreparable harm, particularly during an ongoing pandemic.
This action is brought pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and Illinois common law which prohibits sworn officers from engaging in a strike. Additionally, the City and the FOP are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment including Article 5 which includes a No Strike Commitment.