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CHICAGO — Covid numbers are down and masks are coming off, but vaccine mandates remain if you work for the City of Chicago.

The police union said the city should change that now.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot took part in a symposium Monday targeting mental health and violence in the city. She’s also addressing vaccinations for city employees.

“The union has sued us in every potential form it could think of, and then insisted upon going to mandatory arbitration. We went to arbitration, our rights were upheld and what the arbitrator said was in short strokes, it’s two things, number one – the first day by which members who were taking the two shot vaccine had to get vaccinated by yesterday, March 13 and the last shot by April 13. We’re not doing mass firings today, which is what I think a lot of folks have been propagating. That’s not going to happen,” Lightfoot said.

The deadline to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was Sunday.

The latest numbers from the city, which are still from last week, show more than 300 members in the Chicago Fire Department and nearly 2,800 in the Chicago Police Department are not vaccinated. 

An arbitrator ruled that the union members must comply with the vaccine mandate. Those who aren’t in the process of getting the vaccine doses, or don’t have an exemption, face being put on non-pay status. 

In a statement Monday morning to WGN, Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara said in part, “Why are you putting officers in no-pay status for a policy that no longer is an emergency, taking them off the streets and yet you’re still canceling days off, though canceling days off to have more officers work – it doesn’t work at all.”

In the last week, 12 of Chicago’s 50 aldermen sent the mayor a letter asking for the consequences for those who do not have the vaccine not be implemented. Those same aldermen are now calling for a special council meeting to address the issue.

Lightfoot called the move political theater.

“There are a number of ways that alderman can get information about what’s happening regarding Covid and the mandate,” Lightfoot said. “What’s particularly disappointing is that most of the people that signed onto that never took advantage of any of the opportunities available to them on a regular basis.”