Chicago Police Battle ‘Little Napoleon in Pant Suits’
For now, Lori Lightfoot hasn’t enforced a vax mandate. But this is just the latest rebellion against her governing style.
On Friday, the deadline for Chicago cops to comply with that city’s vaccine mandate came and passed. Rising crime and insufficient policing already tarnish the Windy City, so this was a particularly important deadline in the continuing combative saga between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Fraternal Order of Police.
It all started back in August, when Mayor Lightfoot issued a city worker vaccine mandate that included the Chicago Police Department. The FOP attempted to engage with the city (to no avail) because it saw the vaccine as a new condition for employment. Seeing as the vaccine was imposed without the input of unions, the FOP said it violated its members’ collective bargaining rights.
Last week, the FOP filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the labor board and sent paperwork to get a restraining order on the mandate and bring relief to its members.
If Mayor Lightfoot and the city enforce the deadline, it would have major ramifications. According to columnist John Kass: “The consequence is that police, already 1,000 cops short under Lightfoot, could be down 50 percent over the weekend. The people expect three things from a mayor: Pick up the garbage, keep them safe and continue the fantasy that the public schools work, at least for some.”
Lightfoot, of course, accused FOP President John Catanzara of causing a strike, which is against FOP rules. But calling it a strike isn’t accurate. It is a work stoppage of her own making. She further claimed the FOP is putting the city in danger by not complying with the mandate.
Lightfoot had a Cook County judge issue a gag order on Catanzara to get him to stop making public comments. There was an emergency hearing on Friday morning, during which the city lawyers alleged that Catanzara was calling for an illegal action by the FOP, namely inciting a strike. The FOP and three other Chicago police unions all filed a counter suit that accused the city of violating their bargaining rights.
As Friday’s deadline came and went, Lightfoot did not enforce the mandate. “She blinked,” as Kass so pertly put it. Ultimately, the threat is still on the table. But for now, the police who didn’t comply are still working.
The Chicago PD are clearly tired of Lightfoot and her woke joke policies. It’s a very unfunny joke, which had her defunding the police last year only to refund the department this year. (Turns out when you cut down the police force, violent crime goes up.) No one wants to be a cop in Chicago, and low recruitment is a big problem. Now Lightfoot is further shooting herself in the foot by trying to enforce a vaccine mandate and risk losing more cops. This is on the heels of her spat with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and the dissension with police following Officer Ella French’s murder. She is standing on shaky ground, and law enforcement officers are reaching their breaking point.
The significance of the standoff is not just limited to the police. The vaccine mandate encompasses thousands of city workers, may of whom also did not comply with the mandate. In a historically Democrat city, it speaks volumes that the unions, typically loyal to the politicians in charge, are revolting.
Lightfoot has been dubbed “Chicago’s little Napoleon in pant suits,” and her dictatorial way of governing Chicago is costing her support. Pretty soon she really won’t be able to rule the city.
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