I return again to the issue of legislative action to remove as a scope of cop “union” bargaining language that shields police from criminal prosecution for misconduct towards civilians.
Legislative action is needed because otherwise the Mayor is forced to bargain reform with the FOP. The President of the FOP is grossly hostile to both the Mayor and to any reform.
Yesterday Chris Southwood, President of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, wrote to this blog, calling it “garbage.”
One of the obstacles to passing legislation restricting the scope of bargaining in cop collective bargaining agreements is that the FOP is a major campaign donor to both Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Harmon just recently said he would contribute the FOP money he had received to community organizations.
That’s what happens when you get busted.
Another problem is the general silence at all levels of Organized Labor about the role of the FOP in protecting criminal police behavior.
The Fraternal Order of Police, has a complicated relationship with the labor movement. Some unions count law enforcement officers among their membership. The national FOP is not a member of the AFL CIO and Chicago’s FOP is not a member of the Chicago Federation of Labor. But over 100,000 other law enforcement members are.
Yet some leaders, such as AFL CIO President Richard Trumka and AFT President Randi Weingarten, have resisted constraints on the scope of bargaining for cop “unions” out of fear that those constraints will be expanded to other unions.
The FOP is not like other unions and their misconduct can often result in false convictions, injury and death.
The AFL CIO’s position presents serious pretzel-like problems for Organized Labor. The Federation supported a recent resolution passed by Seattle’s labor council calling on the local police union to support reform or be expelled.
Then the AFL CIO’s leadership opposed the expulsion of police unions at the national level a step taken by the Seattle council in mid-June.
“We supported that resolution,” AFL CIO president, Richard Trumka, said in an interview, before adding: “We believe that it is not the time to disaffiliate. We believe the best way to use our influence on the issue of police brutality is to engage with police unions.”
Don’t even try to follow that logic.
Gabriel Acevero, a Maryland state legislator employed by a union local, introduced a bill last year to roll back protections for police accused of misconduct, he was stepping on a potential fault line. His union, Local 1994 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, represents thousands of Black and Latino workers in food services and at a variety of government agencies. It also includes a small portion of workers in law enforcement.
That fault line turned out to be a chasm that could swallow him up. In mid-June, Mr. Acevero filed a formal charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the union of illegally firing him because of his reform advocacy.
“The reason why I was terminated,” Mr. Acevero said, “was about legislation.”
The FOP has internal problems of its own.
46% of the Chicago Police Department is Black and Brown.
John Catanzara was just recently elected to serve as President with only 32% of the vote. Catanzara is a fan of President Donald Trump.
And last week a contingent of Black retired Chicago police officers protested in front of the FOP office.