While national union leaders have joined in the condemnation of the murder of George Floyd, they have been less than willing to criticize cop unions, like Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police.
Some cop unions are members of the AFL CIO. The national FOP is not because from the start they never wanted to be identified with the labor movement.
The labor movement should return the favor.
There is now a call from many who work in the criminal justice system for the AFL CIO to expel the affiliated cop unions from the labor federation.
The AFL-CIO cannot stand for criminal justice reform, while at the same time allowing police unions to use your power to impede reform. In contract negotiations across the country, unions have fought again and again to prevent accountability measures from being put in place such as civilian review boards and making discipline records transparent. The unions impede this needed reform by claiming that accountability will interfere with policing, and making the false claim that somehow accountability is at odds with public safety when, in fact, the opposite is true. Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with murdering George Floyd, had 18 prior complaints filed with Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs, while his accomplice Tou Thao was the subject of six complaints. It was union protection that allowed them to remain armed, dangerous, and a threat to public safety. The AFLCIO should not be complicit in shielding their members from accountability. These unions dishonor the labor movement.
In Chicago, the Fraternal Organization of Police is headed by an outspoken racist and Trumper, John Catanzara.
In his 25 years on the force, Catanzara has, according to the Citizens Police Data Project, been the subject of 50 allegations and complaints of abuse — more than 96% of Chicago police officers.
At the time of his election Catanzara was on administrative duty. He was already stripped of his police powers.
While collective bargaining agreements normally include issues of compensation, benefits and working conditions, cop contracts are unique in that they are used to shield racist and abusive cops from criminal prosecution.
Chicago is currently in the midst of bargaining a new contract. The use of the CBA to protect criminal behavior needs to be addressed.
Catanzara opposes the Chicago policing consent agreement, including the training component.
Catanzara told the press, “The training in the academy? I am 100 percent against that. I do not believe in training sworn officers. That’s their job. We do not have it in the military or anything else like that. It’s obviously military training military, police should be training police.”
There is no way that issues of police criminal abuse or misconduct towards civilians should be a part of a collective bargaining agreement with the city.
Criminal behavior should be treated as criminal, not as a contract violation.