Chicago Vaccine Firings Reversed

( – Outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s legacy took another hit recently after a judge overturned her administration’s COVID vaccine mandate put in place in 2021 for city workers.

On April 19th, administrative law judge Anna Hamburg-Gal ruled that Lightfoot failed to deal in good faith with union and labor leaders when negotiating the mandate. She ruled the vaccine mandate was a violation of the Illinois Labor Relations Act.

The city is now required to hire back all workers it fired for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate. Chicago will also have to pay back wages and benefits, with 7% interest, to unionized city employees such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, machinists, and bricklayers.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took delight in Lightfoot’s reversal. He posted on the social media site Twitter with a link to the ruling, and the statement, “Gotta love it when petty tyrants are given comeuppance.”

Union leaders and members reacted angrily to Lightfoot’s 2021 warning that workers would face “consequences” if they refused to get the vaccine. A press release from her office said that employees had until October 15th, 2021, to report their vaccination status. Those who did not would be “placed in a non-disciplinary, no pay status.”

Lightfoot will remain Chicago’s mayor until May 15th. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office told Fox News the recent ruling was “erroneous”, and that it “does not follow the law” and does not follow “the science.” Surprisingly, the spokesperson said the mayor’s office is reviewing the decision and considering “next steps.” Why the office of an outgoing mayor may be interested in challenging such a decision is not clear.

On May 16, mayor-elect Brandon Johnson will take Lightfoot’s position. In the general election for mayor held in February of this year, Lightfoot failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote, thus eliminating her from the competition. She is the first mayor that has not been reelected in Chicago in 40 years. 

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