Chicago Employees Fired For Not Getting COVID-19 Vaccine Must Be Reinstated: Judge

 Authored by Zachary Steiber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Workers in Chicago who were fired for not complying with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate must get their jobs back, a judge said in a new ruling.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at an election night rally at Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council in Chicago on Feb. 28, 2023. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)

City officials violated multiple parts of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act by imposing the mandate without negotiating with unions representing the workers over the effects of the mandate, including consequences for not getting vaccinated, Administrative Law Judge Anna Hamburg-Gal said in a 78-page ruling dated April 19.

The mandate itself was not subject to bargaining because the vaccination requirements were “integral to [the city’s] ability to maintain a functional workforce that was capable of carrying out public services during a global pandemic,” Hamburg-Gal said. But that didn’t remove the need to bargain over aspects of the mandate.

“Even where an employer’s decision to implement a management policy is not subject to negotiations, the Act requires good-faith collective bargaining over the effects of that policy decision on the terms and conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees,” the judge said.

Effects that should have been negotiated included sick leave availability for workers who were injured by a vaccine and discipline for failing to report vaccination status or failing to get vaccinated, according to the ruling.

No emergency removed the bargaining requirements for the mandate, which was imposed on Oct. 8, 2021, the judge said.

“By that date, the pandemic had been in existence for well over a year and a vaccine had been available to the public for over ten months under Emergency Use Authorization,” the ruling noted.

The city also violated the law by not providing unions with information they requested that was relevant to negotiations and by eliminating a testing alternative to vaccination.

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