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Chicago mayor backs down on COVID threat, won’t fire unvaccinated teachers

Doug Mainwaring

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Meanwhile, Chicago’s police union head is urging cops to defy the city’s vaccine reporting mandate.

CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — After threatening to fire public school teachers who are not vaccinated by this Friday, Chicago’s Democratic-run city government has backed down and will allow those who have rejected the problematic abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine to continue employment if they agree to weekly testing.

In August, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all Chicago Public School (CPS) employees would be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated by October 15 or face losing their jobs.

While the city promised that those able to obtain medical or religious exemptions would be permitted to continue employment, the city’s Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich, banned pastors from providing religious exemption letters for parishioners, claiming that exemptions are not supported by Church teaching or law.

“Employees will not be barred from coming to work,” said CPS head Pedro Martinez. “We’re going to just work with them to see where they’re at in the vaccination process, what hesitation they might have, what information we can give them … I feel fairly confident that we’re going to be ok.”

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Easing of the strict policy came after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), joined by the two Service Employees International Union (SEIU) groups representing support staff in the school district, wrote a letter on Wednesday to Lightfoot asserting that it is unfair for her to have relaxed vaccine requirements for other city workers while not doing the same for CPS employees who are “disproportionately Black and Latinx women.”

“This disparate enforcement of the vaccine policy will leave schools dangerously understaffed, and disproportionately impact employees of color within CPS,” wrote the Unions. “Surely, you are also aware of the reluctance to vaccination that exists in Black and Brown communities, which is justified in the context of our nation’s history.”

“Punitive enforcement of the vaccination policy in its current form will be ineffectual and will further destabilize already understaffed schools,” they warned. “Understaffed schools are unsafe schools. We urge you to avert this dangerous situation by refraining from punitive enforcement of your vaccine policy for CPS staff.”

In their letter, the school employee unions — historically aligned with the most progressive elements in the Democratic Party — went out of their way to stir racial discord in their criticism of the city’s police union whose leader has urged members to resist the mayor’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate:

It seems inconceivable that you would move to accommodate some workers, including the predominantly white male workforce at the Chicago Police Department whose union has actively opposed the vaccine policy, while your team at CPS seems intent on simply barring from work Black and Brown workers who confront very different challenges in meeting vaccine mandates. These challenges include concerns about the historic harm that medical mistreatment has caused communities of color, to lack of access to shots and reliable information about the vaccine and how to get it.

Chicago police risk layoffs while standing firm against city vaccine-associated mandates

On Tuesday, the president of the Chicago police officer’s union posted a video advising members not to comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine reporting mandate.

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) head John Catanzara noted in the video that police and other city workers would be forced “into a no-pay status” and be sent home on Friday for not entering required information on the mandated vaccine portal.

“Do not fill out the portal information,” Catanzara told union members,” or “subject to testing thereafter.”

“Once you do that, we can never get that information back,” said Catanzara. “We have no assurances from the city that that is secure,” or “who it can be shared with.”

“I’ve made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody let alone that information about your medical history,” he said.

“Hold the line,” urged Catanzara. “The simple fact that they keep putting out public statements, emails, and having bosses call you means one thing: Our members are holding the line.”

“If we get a large number of our members to stand firm on our belief that this is an overreach, and they’re not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to testing, then it’s safe to say that the city will have police force at fifty percent or less for this weekend coming up.”

“I can guarantee you that no-pay status will not last more than 30 days,” said Catanzara in the video. “There’s no way they’re going to be able to sustain a police department workforce at 50% capacity or less for more than seven days without something budging.”