Judge rules Chicago city worker vaccine mandate should stand

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — A federal judge ruled Friday that 130 city of Chicago workers are not entitled to a temporary restraining order and the vaccine mandates should stand. They were trying to make sure the city couldn’t fire them or discipline them for not getting vaccinated.

Hon. John Z. Lee ruled the mandates do not infringe on any fundamental constitutional rights. He ruled there is a public health necessity for the mandates. While he denied the temporary restraining order sought by the city workers, but decided not to rule yet on the employees’ complaint for a preliminary injunction, saying he needs more facts and encouraging more discovery in the case.

The workers argued they risked their lives on the frontlines during the height of the pandemic, and they shouldn’t be treated like “public health hazards” just because they don’t want to be vaccinated.

The workers who are suing are mostly in the city’s fire department, but also in the water department and transportation departments.

They argue the vaccine mandates are “unconstitutional” and violate Illinois law.

A big part of the case suggests natural immunity is just as good as, if not better than, vaccine immunity. Because many of them have already had Covid, they said feel like they don’t need the vaccine, and shouldn’t be forced to get it. The judge said there’s not enough scientific data on the matter yet.

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The judge also said it was within Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s rights to enact the policy on her own, without the blessing of Chicago’s City Council. He said the issue was moot, anyway, given the Council voted to keep the mandate on Friday.

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