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Arbitrator upholds Chicago’s vaccine mandate for police

February 24, 2022 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — An arbitrator has upheld the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for police officers, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday, saying she hopes it is a call to action for those who aren’t yet vaccinated.

The Fraternal Order of Police had vigorously fought the city’s rules, which resulted in lawsuits, and urged members not to comply. The union wanted the matter heard before an arbitrator.

Lightfoot announced last August that city employees would have to get vaccinated. Most departments complied, with the vast majority of city employees getting vaccinated and reporting their status to the city. However, Chicago Police Department employees have lagged behind.

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The arbitrator’s ruling said officers must get their first dose of the shot by March 13 and the second dose a month later.

The police union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arbitrator George Roumell said Chicago officials did not violate collective bargaining agreements with the union in rolling out the vaccination policy, according to The Chicago Tribune.

“The medical evidence supports the City and Department’s vaccine mandate as a reasonable exercise of contractually recognized management rights,” Roumell wrote in the ruling.