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‘I’m calling b.s. right to your face, Ms. Mayor’; FOP President John Catanzara says union would agree to daily testing

It’s the latest twist in the battle between the police union and City Hall over the city’s vaccine mandate.

FOP President John Catanzara outside Chicago Police Department headquarters Tuesday.
FOP President John Catanzara outside Chicago Police Department headquarters Tuesday.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Police union President John Catanzara said Tuesday his union members would agree to testing every day, but he’s still encouraging members to defy the city’s vaccine mandate.

“We will be OK with our members getting a rapid test every day they report to work, before they walk into roll call so they know if you’re contagious or not. Your vaccine status shouldn’t matter at that point,” Catanzara said.

Catanzara said officers who test negative would go to work.

“If you’re positive, you go home, go onto medical (leave) and quarantine for 14 days. It’s the simplest solution to stop the spread, if that’s what they really wanted to do,” he said.

“It’s never been about that though, it’s always been about control. So the ball is in their court. I’m calling b.s. right to your face, Ms. Mayor. Rapid testing every day. You decide,” he said.

Catanzara said the union privately made the offer to the city more than a month ago, but the offer went nowhere.

A spokesman for Mayor Lori Lightfoot didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Catanzara made his comments at a demonstration outside police headquarters Tuesday morning.

On Monday, he called for union members to show up at headquarters in support. About 60 people in plain clothes — not in police uniforms — attended the rally. Attendees cheered Catanzara’s announcement and shook hands with him. Most declined to speak to the media.

The police department has been calling in a small number of officers daily to offer them a last chance to share their status before placing them on no-pay status if they continue to refuse. They had until Oct. 15 to share their status.

Twenty-three officers had been put on no-pay status as of Monday.

In addition to sharing their vaccination status, the city vaccine mandate requires employees be vaccinated by Jan. 1 and be regularly tested until they are inoculated.

Separate lawsuits — one filed by the city and one filed by the union — are pending regarding enforcement of the mandate.