More and more Americans in federal agencies and private companies are fighting back against President Joe Biden's COVID vaccine mandate, which requires all federal employees and contractors and private companies with at least 100 workers to get the COVID jab. But as the rate of new COVID cases across America drops, many are opting to say no.
In Chicago, Illinois, a local police union has organized to defy Mayor Lori Lightfoot's COVID vaccine mandate. The mayor said on Friday that those who refuse the shot will be placed on unpaid leave. The Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police or FOP claims that forcing workers to get vaccinated is "absolutely wrong," CBN News reported.
"They were willing to go into a no-pay status at midnight tonight and get sent home," FOP Chicago president John Catanzara argued. "You know, the reality is we have a profession nobody else wants to do right now. They cannot get anybody to go into this police academy."
According to the Chicago Sun Times, compliance with COVID vaccine mandates in the city has been the lowest among police and firefighters. In fact, among 12,770 Chicago police department employees, 4,543 did not report their vaccine status by midnight on Friday, a deadline given by Mayor Lightfoot. On Monday, those who refused to comply with the COVID vaccine mandate were called in by their supervisors for one last chance to report their vaccine status to the city's portal.
The report showed that the Chicago Police Department had the least compliance rate of all city departments with 64.4% reporting their vaccination status to the city, followed by the fire department at 72%. Among the total of 4,907 firefighters, paramedics and civilian employees, 1,369 failed to report their vaccination status.
Meanwhile in Seattle, the state's police department may face a huge exodus among its employees who refuse to report their vaccination status to the state and refuse the COVID shot. Seattle's police union, which is made up of about a thousand personnel, says that the vaccine mandate will further aggravate staff shortages and will subsequently put public safety at risk.
Union president Mike Solan argued, "People believe in personal choice, and we as a union have to represent everybody. We're not going to play the games of segregating between the vaxxed and the unvaxxed, It's not about that. This is about saving jobs."
In Los Angeles, police department employees filed a federal lawsuit in September opposing the COVID vaccine mandate for lal city workers, USA Today reported. The state's vaccine mandate deadline is tomorrow, October 20, and the judge has not yet ruled on the case. Similarly on a county level, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed his interest in not forcing his deputies to get the COVID shot, saying that he didn't want "to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight."
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio meanwhile is still weighing "all options" in establishing a vaccine mandate for America's largest police department.