Police accountability. Why are Illinois’ legislative Democrats afraid to go where Congressional Democrats are heading?

There is an important article in today’s Politico on the sudden reversal of Congressional Democrats on a bill securing national bargaining rights for public employees.

In brief, earlier this year the Democrats in Congress were unified in support of a bill guaranteeing collective bargaining rights to public employees, including cops.

Support for the bill included progressives like The Squad.

But this summer’s Black Lives Matter movement and police killings like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor changed all that.

The congressional bill has stalled on the issue of the rights of police to bargain accountability in a contract.

The Squad and others have withdrawn support.

Black Lives Matter activists have challenged the right of police contracts as a shield for abuse and misconduct.

As a life-long union activist, I challenge it too.

At this moment, bargaining between the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Lightfoot has reached an impasse. The FOP will concede nothing in their contract when it comes to reform.

But why should the Mayor have to even discuss this with the FOP?

Why won’t even progressives in the Illinois legislature, even those who say they are in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, act to remove by statute the right to bargain police accountability?

Let the FOP bargain their salary and benefits.

There is no way that Mayor Lightfoot should have to bargain cop reform with the cops.

Even if the accountability language in a congressional bill is withdrawn, Chicago cops still have the right to obstruct accountability by way of the shield language in their collective bargaining agreement.

This is an unacceptable misuse of hard-won union rights.

It makes no sense and Democrats in the Illinois legislature, and most importantly those who wear the progressive label, must do the right thing and act to remove by law accountability language as a subject of bargaining.

Only they can do that.

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