A judge ruled that the City of Chicago should reinstate and repay the employees who lost their jobs for violating the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
Reinstating and Repaying Employees in the City of Chicago
The City of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot required in 2021 all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or if not, they will be fired and disciplined from their jobs. However, different labor groups in the city filed a petition against the vaccination requirement.
In a published article in NBC5 Chicago, Administrative Law Judge Anna Hamburg-Gal ruled that fired and disciplined employees for not following the vaccination mandate must be reinstated and repaid. The ruling also requires the city to return the benefits and add seven percent annual interest to their wages.
Moreover, the decision of the judge applies to workers and employees represented by trade unions or by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. However, it is not known how many employees will directly benefit from this ruling.
Labor Groups and Mayor Lightfoot Released a Statement
Anders Lindall, a spokesman for AFSCME, said, “We think it’s a strong decision and favorable for worker rights generally. At issue, in this case, is whether an employer has an obligation to bargain over significant changes to terms and conditions of employment.”
Likewise, Robert Reiter Jr., president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, said that the “ruling defends the rights of workers to have a say in their workplace through collective bargaining. We are hopeful that the full board will uphold the decision of the [judge] and the City will not seek to file exceptions,” FOX News reports.
On the other hand, City of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said, “The ruling was an erroneous decision that does not follow the law, facts nor importantly the science. We are currently reviewing the ruling and evaluating the next steps.” The office further said that they will not discuss the ruling and the case beyond its statement.