Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was mercilessly booed off a stage during a plumbers’ union fundraiser amid fallout over the city’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers, video shows.
A 25-second clip posted to Twitter shows the moment the Democratic mayor was loudly jeered Sunday as she was introduced to Plumbers Union Local 130 – the Windy City’s first union to endorse her in the 2019 runoff election.
“I knew that was going to happen,” one attendee said just as the crowd drowned out Lightfoot’s introduction.
“That’s f–king brutal,” one man sitting at a table said.
One person at the fundraiser told the Chicago Sun-Times Lightfoot “spoke for less than a minute” before the crowd’s ire was apparently too much for her.
“And there was a resounding booing throughout the room,” the attendee said. “Almost deafening … I was sitting at the table with a bunch of plumbers. They’re like, ‘We’ve never heard that before here.’”
“Clearly, their membership is not with her,” the anonymous attendee continued. “They were calling her names. It was bad.”
But a union official disputed that account, saying Lightfoot was able to “finish her remarks” and got a “cheer” at the end while acknowledging she had been booed by some.
“But it was nothing significant,” the union’s recording secretary, Pat McCarthy, told the Sun-Times. And it didn’t disrupt the event at all.”
McCarthy said he believes any detractors at the event weren’t union members.
“We respect her and we have no problems with the mayor,” McCarthy told the newspaper.
Lightfoot’s political director, Dave Mellet, insisted she was “well received” and pushed back on the characterization of his boss being booted by an unruly crowd.
“There may have been a couple of people in the room who came in there to shout and be loud,” Mellet said, adding that he believes the union will endorse Lightfoot’s 2023 reelection bid.
The union’s president said he was downstairs counting money for a football pool when Lightfoot went on the stage.
“I didn’t hear nothin’,” union boss Jim Majerowicz told the Sun-Times. “I was in a different room, so I can’t say. You’re telling me some shocking stuff. I find it hard to believe.”
Under Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate, all city employees must either be fully vaccinated or submit to testing through the end of the year. The head of the city’s police union, John Catanzara, has led several protests this week against the order, WLS-TV reported.
Catanzara has told his members to defy the city’s mandate, leading Lightfoot to accuse him of trying to “induce an insurrection” even after the union’s former president died of COVID-19.
The matter is now being fought in court – with a judge ruling Monday that she would not extend a temporary restraining order against Catanzara banning him from making public statements discouraging cops from complying with the vaccine policy, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Some 23 Chicago police officers within the department of 13,000 cops were on no-pay status as of Monday for not complying with the city’s order to report if they’ve been vaccinated, the Tribune reported.
A federal judge is also expected to rule Friday on an emergency request by more 100 Chicago firefighters and other city employees seeking a freeze on vaccine mandates by Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the newspaper reported.
The 130 plaintiffs, comprised primarily of Chicago firefighters and paramedics, want a temporary restraining order to halt the requirement that risks them being put on no-pay status if they don’t comply. The filing also challenges Pritzker’s mandate ordering health care workers and some state workers to be fully vaccinated.
The NYPD, meanwhile, began requiring unvaccinated cops to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing last month or be sent home without pay. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that all city workers would be required to get their first dose by Oct. 29 or be put on unpaid leave until they provide proof of vaccination.
With Post wires