Oct 15, 2021 - Politics

America's culture wars come to Chicago

A man speaks on the podium while a woman stares at him.

John Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, addresses attendees as Mayor Lori Lightfoot watches. Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Ever since Mayor Lightfoot announced late-August that all city workers had to be vaccinated by October 15th, there has been skepticism surrounding compliance. But today is the day and the skepticism was justified.

Why it matters: FOP President John Catanzara posted a video posted to Facebook encouraging officers not to comply.

  • If officers follow that guidance, we could see half of the entire police force not on the job this weekend.

Compromise: The mayor first announced a full vaccine mandate but has since asked city workers to just upload their status to an online portal.

  • Unvaccinated workers will be able to take COVID-19 tests instead, though the costs of the required two tests per week will fall on the individual, not the city.

For the record: Eight alderpeople have asked the mayor to postpone or eliminate the vaccine mandate entirely. Two alderpeople want the mayor to back off today's deadline in the name of public safety.

What's next: The FOP says they plan to file a lawsuit against the city.

  • The mayor's response? "Bring it."

Zoom out: This culture clash over vaccine mandates has played out in different parts of the country, but Chicago has been relatively immune to these debates due to the overwhelming liberal base that lives here. And now the national media is weighing in.

Sound off: What is your take on this issue? Should city workers have to upload their vaccination status? Email us at [email protected] and we'll print some of the comments next week.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

More Chicago stories