FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT:
City of Chicago Members,
This morning, a Cook County Judge denied the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) request filed by Teamsters Local 700 and the other 22 unions that make up the Coalition of Unionized Public Employees (COUPE).
In addition, on November 23, 2021, a separate Cook County Judge also denied the Fire Fighters Union’s TRO request to delay the deadline to be fully vaccinated until an arbitration decision was issued on the matter.
While we are preparing for our upcoming arbitration, the December 31, 2021 vaccination deadline imposed by your employer is rapidly approaching. City employees who are currently unvaccinated will have to make a choice.
Here are some important dates to keep in mind:
* Friday, November 26, 2021, is the last day an unvaccinated person can get the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine and be fully vaccinated in time for the December 31, 2021 deadline.
* Friday, December 17, 2021, is the last day by which an unvaccinated person can get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and be fully vaccinated in time for December 31, 2021 deadline.
Based on today’s ruling, the City of Chicago will likely begin to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave in January. You could possibly remain on unpaid leave until you are fully vaccinated or unless we win the arbitration.
Teamsters Local 700 maintains our position that individual members should be given the option of vaccination or regular testing. While we hope for a favorable decision from the arbitrator, it has been routinely ruled across the country by various courts and arbitrators that an individual employer can enforce a vaccine mandate on its workforce; the only exceptions being religious and medical exemptions.
Teamsters Local 700 and the other COUPE unions will take every action to protect members’ rights under our contracts. We have asked the City of Chicago to speed up its religious exemption application process. We will also ask the arbitrator to delay the implementation of the vaccination deadline until a final decision is ready to be issued.
We will update you on our collective requests as decisions are rendered in the next few weeks.
Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay United.
RAMON D. WILLIAMS
President, Teamsters Local 700