A judge in Chicago has ruled that the city must rehire and compensate employees who were terminated for not complying with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The ruling, issued by Judge Anna Hamburg-Gal, found that Chicago’s actions were in violation of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, as they did not negotiate in good faith with the workers regarding vaccine requirements.
This decision is likely to have significant implications for both the affected workers and the city’s vaccination policies. In August 2021, Mayor Lightfoot announced that all city employees must be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021, or be subject to regular testing and other safety protocols, including employees of city contractors and vendors.
The judge’s ruling means that the city will now have to compensate unionized workers who were fired for refusing to follow the vaccine mandate, including back pay and benefits. Additionally, the affected employees will receive 7% annual interest on the lost wages. It’s important to note that the ruling only applies to non-police personnel, as police officers have a separate pending case with the state board filed by the Fraternal Order of Police.
This ruling comes amid ongoing debates over vaccine mandates, with many arguing that such mandates infringe upon individual liberties and personal freedoms.
While the ruling only applies to Chicago, it may set a precedent for similar cases across the country. It remains to be seen how the city will respond to the ruling and whether it will have any impact on its vaccination policies moving forward.
In response to the ruling, Senator Rand Paul tweeted, “Gotta love it when petty tyrants are given comeuppance.”
Gotta love it when petty tyrants are given comeuppance https://t.co/ga93zxkOMX
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 25, 2023