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Pritzker quietly extends vax deadline during union negotiations while Lightfoot seeks injunction against the FOP

Friday, Oct 15, 2021

* 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.

* Sun-Times

“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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    ==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.==

    Hopefully that punishment will be “get vaccinated or get fired.” With no testing cop-outs allowed.


  2. - Downstate - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:24 am:

    Interesting that union opposition to mandatory vaccinations is being “negotiated”, while businesses, with more than 100 employees, are told they will endure significant fines for non-compliance.


  3. - Langhorne - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:25 am:

    Implement the vaccine mandate for 500 officers at a time.
    Get a feel for how many are really willing to sit at home with no pay. If testing is an allowable opt out, this allows for implementation.


  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:35 am:

    ===500 officers at a time===

    Could trigger equal protection claim.


  5. - Moe Berg - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    Covid is the #1 killer of cops. The previous FOP president (unvaccinated) just died of it.

    Pretty much all the GQP cult leaders, including Trump and Tucker Carlson, however, are vaccinated.

    And yet, so many in leadership roles, like President Catanzara, advocate that others leave themselves vulnerable to death for the sake of owning the libs. It’s so grossly immoral.


  6. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    =It is an improper order.=

    It’s something seeing a cop tell other cops about not following an improper order.


  7. - H-W - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:41 am:

    =I’m telling you right now. It is an improper order. It is illegal. =

    Well then, perhaps he should try arresting the Governor and the Mayor for violating the FOP’s law.


  8. - Anon - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 9:48 am:

    “make sure you get it on body cam”, Is this a proper use of government property?


  9. - Demoralized - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    ==You have to refuse that order.==

    I’ll be sure to try that at work and see how it works out.

    Also, I hope the police take that attitude into consideration the next time someone doesn’t do what they ask. I mean, what’s good for the goose . . .


  10. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    =And yet, so many in leadership roles, like President Catanzara, advocate that others leave themselves vulnerable to death for the sake of owning the libs. It’s so grossly immoral.=

    The message from Catanzara is that the cause is more important than any members’ health. But it’s up to the rank and file to decide if they’re going to be foolish enough to put their life and livelihood on the line to feed Catanzara’s ego.


  11. - Downstate - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    Interesting….

    Postal employee just delivered mail to our office. I asked if the Post Office has a mandate on vaccinations, and he responded, “No. And they don’t expect to get one.”

    I thought the Post Office was going to be required to get vaccinations.


  12. - Demoralized - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    ==they will endure significant fines for non-compliance.==

    That’s the way OSHA works. You don’t abide by worker safety rules (and worker health is definitely a worker safety issue) and you get fined. It’s not a new concept.


  13. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    =I thought the Post Office was going to be required to get vaccinations.=

    Still relying on Facebook for news are we?

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/09/16/fact-check-postal-workers-follow-osha-vaccine-guidance/8295566002/


  14. - Downstate - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:15 am:

    “That’s the way OSHA works. You don’t abide by worker safety rules (and worker health is definitely a worker safety issue) and you get fined.”

    But aren’t the CPD members covered by OSHA rules, as well? Why negotiate if OSHA rules are in place?


  15. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    Be very wary of anyone who is actively advocating that you put your employment at risk.

    As a rule, they’re not your buddy.


  16. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    =Why negotiate if OSHA rules are in place?=

    The OSHA rule on Covid 19 vaccines and testing mandates has not been published yet. But it is coming. There was a big announcement by the President on the topic. Find an answer to this question and more here:

    www.google.com


  17. - Just Moi - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    Interesting FOP position: 62 percent of police deaths last year were COVID-19-related: analysis http://hill.cm/gCyn6NT


  18. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    The other day I noticed a picture of John Cantazara in short sleeves. He has quite the collection of body art also know as tattoos. Tattoos are created by needles and ink.

    If ‘ya can get a tattoo, ‘ya can get a vaccine that can save your life and the lives of those around you. Hypocrite.


  19. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:38 am:

    In law enforcement, especially during promotional interviews, nothing looks better in one’s personnel file than incidents of disobeying orders.

    Any cop who listens to Cantazara ain’t planning for their future.


  20. - WestBurbs - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    Downstate - I think you are mistaken — the OSHA regs for 100+ employees is a “vax OR test” mandate. I think that is stupid to cater to anti-vaxxers - should be vax only - but for purposes of public discussion, we all need to be very careful about how we describe the various mandates — so we can call out the Q-adjacent conspiracy theorists from the very small minority who are truly anti-vaccine (who, to be clear, are wrong/crazy but I differentiate between, eg Jenny McCarthy and our illustrious FOP Prez)


  21. - Aaron B - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    From the NY Times:

    ==More than 460 American law enforcement officers have died from Covid-19 infections tied to their work since the start of the pandemic, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the coronavirus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths in 2020 and 2021. More than four times as many officers have died from Covid-19 as from gunfire in that period.==

    I’m having trouble understanding what the objection is from law enforcement to get the vaccine that is proven to help prevent deaths. Are the police going to start refusing to wear kevlar vests now too since they don’t want to be told what to do in order to save lives?


  22. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    Big stretch by Lightfoot and the City claiming refusal to obey an order counts as a “strike” or “work stoppage”; legally it is neither, so hopefully the courts throw out the attempt to get an injunction on that basis. FOP 7 and their leader are deep in the wilderness on this issue, but that doesn’t make the City’s position any stronger.


  23. - WestBurbs - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    thisjustinagain — I’m not a labor lawyer but I think that if cops actually refused to show up, it would be an illegal work stoppage - thus, not much of a stretch to seek to enjoin the Union Pres from recommending/encouraging his workers to not show up. That is the whole point of a TRO/preliminary injunction - to stop the threatened action before it happens.


  24. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    =Big stretch by Lightfoot and the City claiming refusal to obey an order counts as a “strike” or “work stoppage”=

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. If vaccine disclosure is a condition and there’s a coordinated effort led by the union to defy the order, it could be considered a work stoppage. I’m not saying that’s a slam dunk, but I could see the court ruling either way.

    And keep in mind that we’ve already seen rulings upholding employer (Houston Methodist Hospital) and institutional (Indiana University) vaccine mandates. And Cantazara is making the argument that you don’t have to disclose your vaccine status even if you’re vaccinated. The logic behind that completely escapes me and I’m not sure that a court would find this request of public safety employees to be unreasonable. But sometimes courts do wacky things.


  25. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    =Isn’t it odd that the virus somehow doesn’t infect the postal workers=

    Sure it does. That’s why as an agency, independent of the government, they would be required to be vaccinated under the OSHA rule that’s being drafted.


  26. - City girl - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    Classic Lightfoot. A PR stunt lawsuit so she can pretend that she’s being tough. If she really was tough, just fire some cops who refuse the vax.


  27. - Grateful Gail - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:43 pm:

    I am just so disappointed in Governor Pritzker not standing up to AFSCME. At this rate it sounds like he is going to back down totally and allow there to be a “get tested” part of his mandate for AFSCME. This will NOT help our individuals in the developmental centers, as staff are the ones bringing in the virus, and then forcing our loved ones to be quarantined and isolated. I just thought Pritzker would have the courage to do the right thing,,,,,obviously not when it comes to AFSCME. Very disappointing, and tells AFSCME once again that they are in control, and run the show.


  28. - Cathy - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    Gail
    What’s wrong with having a testing option


  29. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    =Most people tend to not. Like being forced mandated coerced bullied into taking some thing into their body that they are unsure of especially when it’s clear that it doesn’t always work and nobody is taking into consideration prior infection and natural immunity=

    So why have any vaccine mandates? Just send the kids off to school and hope for the best. And if you’re argument is “prior infection and natural immunity” as a reason not to get a vaccine, why isn’t the medical community getting behind this idea?

    95% of the people in the hospital right now for Covid 19 are unvaccinated. Seems pretty clear too me that the vaccines are working as intended.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 1:06 pm:

    ===I think it would be more appropriate two use the term anti-mandate rather than anti-VAX===

    LOL

    You’re fooling nobody, except maybe yourself.


  31. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 1:14 pm:

    “What’s wrong with having a testing option

    1 positive occurs after the infection has occurred.
    2. Places everyone and their families at risk as catch after the fact.
    3. Costs money and time to do, ( should be charged to the employee and time should be docked)
    4. Increases premiums due to increased heath cost.
    5. There is a safe and proven solution to an ongoing social and economic crisis.


  32. - B - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    No not fooling myself

    It’s anti mandate

    Not

    Anti vax


  33. - RWC - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:08 pm:

    Is it possible Lightfoot is playing a long game to bring the city together by convincing the FOP and the CTU they’re on the same side?


  34. - Grateful Gail - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    You are correct Anonymous. Also, the testing option puts the individuals in the developmental centers at risk, and also in isolation/quarantine. By the time a staff member tests positive they have already possibly spread the virus; once a staff member tests positive any individual that was in contact with that staff member are isolated in their rooms for 10-14 days per IDPH guidelines. They have to eat, sleep, stay in their rooms, etc. They may test negative, but they are still isolated. Any individual that is exposed to a positive staff also cannot then go to their day employment, go out for outings, take bike rides, etc. They are basically “stuck” in their room or on the wing of their unit. This is totally unfair to them, as it could be prevented if staff were vaccinated.


  35. - dan l - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:26 pm:

    ——
    No not fooling myself

    It’s anti mandate

    Not

    Anti vax
    ——-

    Please. Explain to us the finer points about how being “anti mandate but not anti vax” is just not just a continuation of the rest of the nonsense that the _exact same people_ have been spewing for months.


  36. - dan l - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:27 pm:

    ——
    Is it possible Lightfoot is playing a long game to bring the city together by convincing the FOP and the CTU they’re on the same side?

    ——-

    This is super ironic isn’t it?


  37. - Common Sense - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:11 pm:

    I miss the good old days when CTU and FOP were on friendlier terms. Total opposite ends here though in regards to Covid. CTU wants more testing and more vaccination opportunities. FOP just wants everyone to shut up about Covid.


  38. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    Just because one doesn’t want THIS vaccine for reasons I listed under previous post that was deleted
    Does not mean that person is an anti vaxxer

    The mandates are what are triggering people


  39. - Cathy - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:44 pm:

    Gail

    Aren’t the people in the developmental center already vaccinated themselves

    Making them protected


  40. - Jocko - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==It’s anti mandate==

    If you’re vaccinated (like any other considerate American) why do you care? Do you stay at home when having a contagious illness…inform others…or tell yourself that’s ‘their’ problem?


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