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 On the Money Lodge 7 rallies big donations for members holding the line
Willie Wilson, center, presented a $50,000 check to Lodge 7 Pres- ident John Catanzara, right, and Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Robert Tebbens, left, to support members who have opted into no-pay status.
Chicago Police Officer and Lodge 7 member Milan Sipic was one of the first to hold the line by declining to complete the vaccine portal and enduring no-pay status. He held on for one month, trying to make ends meet by working side jobs, until the financial burden became too excessive.
“I didn’t want to have to come back to work, but I couldn’t hold on anymore,” Sipic shared at the December General Mem- bers Meeting. “I know how hard it is for everybody who is still under no-pay status.”
Citing the financial struggles that he and more than 100 offi- cers faced after refusing to fill out the portal and being stripped and put into no-pay status, Sipic recognized the need for mem- bers to stand up for those who are standing up for their rights. To stimulate support and help members hold on, Sipic made a motion that Lodge 7 contribute $50,000 from the general mem- bership fund into the Hold the Line Hero’s Fund, which has pro- vided financial support to officers in no-pay status.
“We kept getting told how not every officer was contributing, the fund is dwindling and they’re still trying to make the pay- ment,” Sipic confided. “So I felt as a union, we should just step up again.”
Immediately, member Michael Cosentino seconded the mo-
tion. He implored, “If we cannot take care of our own, how the f--- can we ask somebody else to?”
Without hesitation, Lodge 7 President John Catanzara put the motion to a vote. A thundering “Aye” reverberated through the FOP Hall, unanimously confirming to transfer money from member dues into the Hold the Line Hero’s Fund. Sipic felt re- lieved and inspired to know that the members are happy to sup- port officers holding the line.
“It was fantastic,” Sipic admitted. “We all understood what we were doing and what the consequences could potentially be, because this is everybody’s fight.”
Members have held the line since October by standing up to the Department’s pressure to complete the portal when the City mandated that all public workers report their vaccination sta- tus. Officers who refused to comply were called to 35th Street to meet with a Department command staffer for another chance to abide by the mandate. Another refusal would lead to the offi- cer being stripped of police powers and surrendering their stars and police IDs before being put into no-pay status.
One member who didn’t fill out the portal and went into no- pay status was James Murray, an FTO in 015, who previously en- dured a series of mandatory vaccinations in the Army that led to extreme acid reflux. The Department refused to consider his

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