A judge has dropped the hammer on Chicago officials by ruling that all city workers who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated for Covid must be reinstated.
Administrative Law Judge Anna Hamburg-Gal also ordered the city to compensate the fired workers for lost wages and benefits.
The judge ruled that Democrat-led Chicago violated the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act by enforcing a vaccine mandate on city employees.
The city was in violation because officials failed to negotiate the mandate with unions representing the workers.
The city did not bargain in good faith and, therefore, violated the act, Hamburg-Gal determined.
The fired workers must now be reinstated and repaid any lost pay and benefits, plus 7% annual interest.
The decision in a case before the Illinois Labor Relations Board applies to city workers represented by trade unions or by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, The Chicago Sun Times reported.
The unions banded together to challenge regulations Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed starting in 2021.
Judge Hamburg-Gal’s ruling requires the city to “make whole” workers who lost pay and benefits.
The ruling is a broad rebuke of Lightfoot’s get-tough policies on city workers who resisted vaccination mandates.
However, it’s not currently known how many employees were penalized.
One source reportedly told the Times said a few dozen employees may be directly affected by the decision.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees celebrated the ruling saying, “We think it’s a strong decision and favorable for worker rights generally.”
“We think it’s a strong decision and favorable for worker rights generally,” a spokesperson for AFSCME told news outlets.
A spokesperson for the soon-to-be ex-mayor’s office said the ruling “was an erroneous decision that does not follow the law, facts nor importantly the science.”
The city is considering its next steps, Mayor Lightfoot’s office warned.