Arbitrator rules Chicago cops must be vaccinated against COVID-19, Lightfoot says

After months of waiting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that an arbitrator has ruled Chicago police officers must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We've received a ruling from the arbitrator who had been considering the city's vaccine mandate as it pertains to the FOP and supervisors' unions. The arbitrator ruled that the vaccine mandate for sworn members is valid and that the grievances filed are denied," the mayor said during a news conference following a Chicago City Council meeting.

The arbitrator’s ruling said officers must get their first dose of the shot by March 13 and the second dose a month later.

The police union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arbitrator George Roumell said Chicago officials did not violate collective bargaining agreements with the union in rolling out the vaccination policy, according to The Chicago Tribune.

"The medical evidence supports the City and Department’s vaccine mandate as a reasonable exercise of contractually recognized management rights," Roumell wrote in the ruling.


Back in Oct. 2021, tensions became heated between Mayor Lightfoot and Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara after some members of the police union refused to get vaccinated or even report their vaccine status in the city's online portal.

A few dozens officers were put into a "no-pay" status, and Catanzara accused Lightfoot of trying to divide the rank-and-file.

On November 1, a Cook County judge ruled that Chicago police officers did not have to get vaccinated for the time being, but that they did have to report their vaccine status to the city.

Associated Press contributed to this report.