Page 31 - November 2021
P. 31

  As Lodge 7 leads objection to vaccine mandate, members show they are willing to stand up against the policy
Refusing to comply with the
City’s vaccine mandate policy
injects Chicago Police Officers
into what Lodge 7 Recording
Secretary Rob Noceda describes
as one of the worst experiences
he’s ever encountered. Noce-
da and other Lodge 7 field reps,
including First Vice President
Mike Mette, Second Vice Pres-
ident Dan Gorman and Third
Vice President Fernando Flores,
have been working around the
clock at 35th Street to help mem-
bers who have not complied and
have been randomly summoned
to headquarters for an inquisition by exempt ranks.
Monica Ortiz, the newest Lodge 7 field rep, who has also joined the union’s counseling and guidance efforts, confides the scene has been debilitating and devastating. She can bare- ly find words to describe how members are being subjected to a stressful three-step process that seems more harrowing than the third degree.
“To be able to articulate everything that I’ve seen and heard, I don’t even have words,” Ortiz submits. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It doesn’t make any sense to me that we’re here. I feel like I’m in a dream.”
It’s a nightmare the way Chicago Police Officers have been issued a direct order to fill out that portal disclosing whether they have taken the COVID vaccine and being stripped of po-
lice powers and put into no-pay status for refusal to comply. The courts granted a Temporary Re- straining Order (TRO) on Nov. 1 that will lead to preventing the City from being able to impose such discipline, as well as termi- nating those officers who don’t comply, while negotiations are conducted.
Lodge 7 President John Cat- anzara has been out in front of members on this issue, includ- ing joining those who have re- fused to disclose their status be- ing put into no-pay status. And he reinforced the Lodge posi- tion by standing with members
during a rally at City Hall on Oct. 25 and the subsequent news conference, where he showed he would not be limited by the court-issued gag order about speaking against the policy.
His position has been well-documented about how this is not about getting the vaccine but rather a matter of the City’s refusal to collectively bargain implementing the policy.
“It’s just a terrible process to have an officer have to debate if they believe something is an unlawful order that tramples their collective bargaining rights,” Noceda asserts. “We are hearing from them that, ‘OK, this is worth me going into no-pay status because I feel that strongly about protecting my rights.’”
As Noceda and the other field reps have watched members go
 Just Say No

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