The Rundown: Are cops striking by ignoring vax mandate?

Chicago police
In this Aug. 26, 2013, file photo, Chicago Police patrol the neighborhood in Chicago. M. Spencer Green / AP Photo
Chicago police
In this Aug. 26, 2013, file photo, Chicago Police patrol the neighborhood in Chicago. M. Spencer Green / AP Photo

The Rundown: Are cops striking by ignoring vax mandate?

Hey there! It’s Friday! We did it! We can literally do whatever we want for two whole days before showing up late to work on Monday. Here’s what you need to know today.

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1. Lightfoot takes police union to court over its opposition to vaccine mandate

Mayor Lori Lightfoot today announced she is taking Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police to court, accusing the union’s president of “encouraging a work stoppage or strike” by urging officers to ignore today’s deadline for reporting their vaccination status.

It’s the latest volley between Lightfoot and FOP President John Catanzara over the city’s vaccine mandate, which was announced in August and is now just hours away from going into effect for more than 30,000 city workers.

State law and the police union’s own contract prevent officers from going on strike. A legal expert told the Chicago Tribune that the FOP might not have much leverage, and one of the bigger consequences for the union is a further erosion of public trust in officers. [Tribune]

City officials say they plan to announce next week how many workers complied with the vaccine mandate.

Meanwhile, Italy today began enforcing a sweeping mandate on all workers, both public and private. [Washington Post]

2. Chicago Police are investigating alleged sexual misconduct by at least two ex-lifeguards

Chicago Park District lifeguards have filed at least three reports of sexual misconduct against co-workers, and Chicago police detectives are investigating the alleged abuse of Aquatics Department employees, reports WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

A “person of interest” was interviewed this week by officers in one case involving a male park district supervisor at Humboldt Park who’s accused of committing sexual misconduct against a 16-year-old female lifeguard when he was 31, a police spokeswoman said.

Records obtained by WBEZ show police opened investigations into two complaints filed earlier this year against another senior lifeguard on the city’s Northwest Side, who was accused of sexually attacking other park district employees at the pools in Portage Park and Jefferson Park.

One of those two cases was closed after a detective determined that the statute of limitations for the alleged crime had expired. [WBEZ]

3. FDA panel recommends Johnson & Johnson booster shot at least two months after initial dose

An advisory panel of experts voted unanimously to recommend the Food and Drug Administration authorize booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Advisors on the panel cited growing concerns that the 15 million Americans who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine are less protected against COVID-19 than people who received vaccines from Moderna or Pfizer.

“I think, frankly, this was always a two-dose vaccine,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said during the panel discussion before the vote.

The panel did not take a vote on whether people who got the J&J shot should be allowed to get a booster of Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccines, but the issue could be revisited. [NPR]

4. Rent is too damn high, and that could prolong inflation

Concerns over inflation were further flamed this week after federal data showed Americans are paying more for food, furniture, cars and rent. And that last one, rent, is ringing alarm bells for economists.

The Consumer Price Index shows rent prices shot up between August and September by its fastest pace in about 20 years, reports The New York Times. Housing prices tend to move more slowly, and when they do increase, they tend to stay there.

The situation could be bad news for the White House, which believes inflation will drop when the economy returns to normal. But the rise in housing costs presents a significant challenge to that way of thinking, and voters could voice their disapproval in next year’s critical midterm elections if prices don’t cool off.

If prices don’t drop, they could become the norm and create a domino effect, economists say. Americans could expect to pay more for their lifestyle and then demand and receive higher wages, causing businesses to further increase prices for their goods and services. [New York Times]

5. HBO’s Succession returns on Sunday. And PR pros weigh in on how Waystar Royco can survive

The Emmy-winning drama finally returns for its third season after the pandemic knocked the show off its production schedule. Now, two years later, viewers will get to see what happens to the power-hungry Roy family after Season 2’s earthquake of a cliffhanger.

The Ringer came up with an amazing idea and asked public relations experts how they would handle the huge crises facing the family and its media conglomerate, Waystar Royco.

This line cracked me up: “Hill Impact CEO and founder Dan Hill sums up the general thrust of the thought exercise at one point in the interview, stating: ‘I want to make it very clear I wouldn’t work for any of these people.’ ” [A.V. Club]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to pause Texas’ restrictive abortion law as legal challenges against the law proceed. [NPR]
  • Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of shooting and killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018, plans to plead guilty, one of his attorneys said today. [AP]
  • Illinois Democrats unveiled new congressional maps that could pad the party’s margins in Congress. [WBEZ]
  • It’s been four years since #MeToo went viral. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

I haven’t worked at the office in almost two years (and hopefully many more years to come.)

But if you’re longing for the experience, a pop-up museum is now open in Chicago that allows fans of the workplace comedy The Office to walk around a replica of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch.

WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang recently checked out The Office Experience, which is located in the space on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile once occupied by former fast-fashion giant Forever 21. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

Halloween is getting closer and closer. So what’s the scariest spot in Chicago?

Someone who didn’t give their name wrote:

“5th floor, City Hall.”

And that’s a wrap for this week. Thank you for all the emails this week. It was nice hearing from y’all.

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