December 15, 2021 - 6:15 PM
Earlier today the collective group of Unions that represent City of Chicago employees received the arbitrator’s decision regarding the City’s vaccine mandate.
In short, the City’s vaccine mandate was upheld with modifications. Additionally, the arbitrator is “retaining jurisdiction” in order to resolve any ambiguities or other issues that arise out of his decision. He also has ordered the City and the collective group of Unions to have at least one bargaining session by December 27th to “resolve any issues that have been raised between the parties or as a result” of his decision. Undoubtedly, issues surrounding the implementation of this policy may continue to arise.
Key points to be understood:
1. First Shot by December 31, 2021: Employees will be deemed in compliance so long as they get their first shot (J&J, Pfizer or Moderna) by December 31. In other words, employees now have until December 31, 2021 to get their first shot and will NOT be placed in unpaid status.
2. Second Shot by January 31, 2022: If employees choose the 2-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they must get the second shot by January 31, 2022 to be in compliance. In other words, if employee got their first shot by December 31, 2021 and their second shot by January 31, 2022, they will have complied with the policy and will NOT be placed in unpaid status.
3. If employee has made a good faith attempt to schedule and receive the first shot by December 31, 2021, the employee may present evidence of that to be excused for some short delay past the December 31 deadline for the 1st shot. Disputes will be resolved by the Arbitrator on a case-by-case, expedited basis.
However we recommend that employees not count on receiving any exception to the December 31, 2021 deadline for the first shot, and should make every effort to get their first shot by December 31 to avoid being placed into unpaid status.
4. An employee who has submitted an exemption application by December 8, 2021, shall be excused from the vaccination requirement until the application is resolved. If the application is denied, the employee shall have six weeks from the date of receipt of the denial to comply with the "vaccination requirements."
While this is not the result the collective group of Unions were hoping for, the Arbitrator’s decision does give them options to resolve further disputes created through the implementation of this policy.
Through our collective fight we have succeeded in obtaining additional time for workers to obtain the vaccination shots mandated by the City and we will continue to advocate for all of our members as the policy is implemented.