CHICAGO (CBS) — This weekend brings a looming deadline for thousands of Chicago city workers. They could lose paychecks if they haven’t gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sunday is the deadline for Chicago police officers to get either their first shot of the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Most other city workers faced earlier deadlines, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot has warned that any city workers who haven’t complied with the vaccine mandate by Monday “will be placed in a non-disciplinary, no pay status until they come into compliance with the policy .”
That means come Monday morning, there could be thousands of city workers without pay. The mayor warned those employees they also could be fired if they continue to refuse to get vaccinated.
As of March 8, at least 3,575 city workers were not yet vaccinated. Of those, 2,777 are employees of the Chicago Police Department, and 327 work for the Fire Department.
The City Council and its staff has the lowest vaccination rate of any city agency, at 84.42%
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s order requiring all city workers to get vaccinated allows those who miss the deadline for their shots to be placed on non-disciplinary no-pay status.
City workers who have applied for religious or medical exemptions from the vaccine mandate will be excused from getting their shots until the city rules on their requests. If their exemption is denied, they’ll get six weeks to comply.
Chicago isn’t alone in threatening to take away city workers’ paychecks or fire them if they don’t get vaccinated.
In New York, 1,430 workers have been fired for not getting vaccinated, less than 1% of the city’s workforce. Most of those fired – 900 – worked for the Department of Education, while only 36 worked for the NYPD.
New York allowed more time for those seeking exemptions
In Los Angeles, at least 244 full-time city employees were put on unpaid leave as Los Angeles’ vaccine mandate went into effect on Dec. 18.
Just over 80% of Los Angeles city employees were in compliance with the vaccination mandate at that time.
Previously here in Chicago, non-vaccinated city employees could opt out of the vaccination requirement by getting tested twice per week, but that will no longer be the case come Monday.