Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is fighting back against Mayor Lori Lightfoot, urging police officers not to comply with her vaccine mandate. Catanzara posted a roughly ten-minute video online Tuesday telling officers to stand firm in their beliefs and not give in to the mayor’s overreach.
“This is very clearly not a job action, not a call for a strike, none of that illegal stuff that I’m sure the city is going to try and make it out to be” said Catanzara of his message to officers. “If the city maintains its current course, come midnight on Thursday, slash Friday morning, members will be forced into a no-pay status that did not complete the portal information or subject to testing thereafter; that’s their last position.”
“Here’s our position. The city from the beginning has said that the religious exemption is the same as the conscientious exemption allowed under state statute. It is not; it is totally separate. But they have not made an accommodation for that separate exemption. We will. We’re going to provide three forms later today for religious, for medical, and for the conscientious exemption” said Catanzara.
City Hall announced any employees who do not report their vaccination status through the portal will be placed on a “non-disciplinary, no-pay status.” Police officers and FOP members are told to report to work Friday and be sent home if they have not filled out the portal.
“Do not fill out the city’s portal. It’s information they shouldn’t have access to” he told his members and emphasized they “have no obligation” to fill out personal information in the portal the city is bullying them into doing.
Catanzara said of the portal they don’t know where that information is going. That is all part of the “subjected mandatory bargaining that they have refused to do at this point.” He also said, in support, “I myself will go into a no pay status myself as your president because I think it’s the right thing to do. I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody.”
Offering a sign of protection and relief, Catanzara announced a draft for a “Class action grievance for all members affected that will be submitted without delay.” If members stand firm on beliefs that this is an overreach, then it’s safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% he added.
“Whatever happens, that falls at the mayor’s doorstep. This all could have been avoided” he states.