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  • Police Departments Without Unions

    It has recently come to my attention (See Corona overtime compensation thread) that there are many PDs that don't have Union Representation at any level. As I've previously mentioned, this concept is bizarre to me considering I've only known PDs with Union Representation.

    My biggest concern with not having Union Representation, is the likelihood of being terminated without adequate legal counsel. I've seen many Officers win their jobs back due to lawyers being provided by The Union. Without that level of support, an Officer fighting for his job almost has no chance of going against a PD with endless resources, unless that Officer has deep pockets for legal fees.

    I'm fancinated by this topic. Please, for those of you with experience in this matter - provide your opinion.
    Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."

  • #2
    I'm a union steward. I do believe union protection has more pros than cons.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yea I could not imagine doing this job without legal/union representation!! Especially with the amount of scrutiny we are all under and how admin is so willing to throw you out to dry when/if you do something controversial. Good luck to the guys/gals who work without that protection.

      I pay more than $160.00 a month for union and legal protection and it is well worth it!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        My current one does not. I'm leaving soon.
        Last edited by Saluki89; 03-26-2020, 12:22 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I could easily see agencies that do not have a “union.” Really, it’s not that important. You can do the job without collective bargaining and LDF. If your agency doesn’t cover your legal bills thing will get very complicated.

          As others have said where it becomes a noticeable issue is when both kind of agencies operate in the same state or area. The unionized shops will always draw people because of legal aid, secure working rights and negotiated health benefits.

          Unions bring all kinds of issues, like keeping really sh*tty employees, because invariably the agency will screw up the termination process because they really want the “hero” employee gone. They also bring out complainers. People who cry poverty during contract negotiations begging the union to give them a 250% pay increase because (insert questionable rationale). Oh and who can forget the ever present lack of attendance. No one shows up the meeting because they are “busy” or they fear Admin is conducting surveillance of the union hall (well, *sometimes* that’s true).

          All in all, they are mostly needed. Please attend your next scheduled union meeting.
          semper destravit

          Comment


          • #6
            We have FOP, which offers legal services to officers that get jammed up. I've never had to use their services, but then again I work for a PD with pretty solid admin.

            We have no formal union representation like you see in big cities in the northeast...and its evident in the disparity of pay, benefits and pension between our state and those in the northeast. When I meet officers from other parts of the country during trainings or police week, they often don't believe me when I tell them what I make and what our pension is like.

            Comment


            • scotty_appleton814
              scotty_appleton814 commented
              Editing a comment
              You may have a solid admin. But they are temporary. And depending in where you are in your career, you will outlast them. Now what if the new admin comes in and they are not for the coppers and will hang you guys out to dry?

          • #7
            I've already stated my opinion on unions. As far as job security goes, do your job the right way and 99 % of the time you won't have to worry about loosing it.

            And for the 1%, do you really want to work some place that doesn't want you there anymore?

            So basically y'all are paying $160 a month to keep a job?


            I would rather pocket the $160 and spend it on something I need or want. I could spend that money on gun related items, stuff for my saxophones, ham radio stuff, stuff for the truck or a nice dinner for the family at a restaurant.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by westside popo View Post
              I've already stated my opinion on unions. As far as job security goes, do your job the right way and 99 % of the time you won't have to worry about loosing it.

              And for the 1%, do you really want to work some place that doesn't want you there anymore?

              So basically y'all are paying $160 a month to keep a job?


              I would rather pocket the $160 and spend it on something I need or want. I could spend that money on gun related items, stuff for my saxophones, ham radio stuff, stuff for the truck or a nice dinner for the family at a restaurant.
              Part of that $160 is paying for the better salary and benefits that he may compared to non union job. He also also paying for legal representation during disciplinary issues, because even administrative procedures to fire or discipline someone can be (and mostly are) frought with a legalities and may end up being a labor law violation. Wouldn't you want access to a pre-paid lawyer in those circumstances. Like do you know how often coppers are not aware of their Weingarten and Garrity rights? A lot. Do you know how important those 2 particular labor rights are? Hugely important, but I would rather have the union attorney who has been at this for 20 plus years than myself. I'm not saying I have no faith in me. But if you need engine work done, most times it's best to take your car to the guy who is trained in engine repair.

              Now about that 1% who may end up being garbage cops. 1. You will find deadweight in any job, union or not. 2. Yes you may think they are garbage, but if they are not out there violating people's rights or department policies, no. They are not going anywhere and you gotta get over that. Because if PDs could arbitrarily fire those they don't like. All it takes is the next admin group to lump up in there.

              I have more, but I'm done ranting.

              Comment


              • #9
                In 1974 the department I served with was approached by a union organizer. Some of the guys were enthusiastic, most of us were less than interested and the deal did not go anywhere. We did have a "protective association" open to membership of the rank and file (non-supervisory ranks), mostly involved in charitable activities but somewhat involved in salary & benefit negotiations with the city. Our state laws prohibited strikes by public safety employees, including "blue flu" type actions, so when our negotiations with city council went south we arranged a meeting in the council chambers where our rep dumped a 5-gallon bucket of badges on the council table with an announcement that 90% of the members were resigning effective immediately (275 member department, 39 supervisors, 210 resignations signed and dated). Within 3 hours a new salary & benefit schedule was agreed upon.

                I later went on to a state position with a recognized union. Representation of individual members was less than non-existent. Political connection was the only operative factor. Even getting your union rep to return a phone call was like making a wish list for Christmas. The union bosses were in bed (sometimes literally) with the state administration. Any communications were always one-way only, and took the form of edicts to be obeyed. In a ten-year period our state employees' pension fund was raided twice by the legislature for zero-interest loans to fund pet projects, and eventually the fund went bankrupt (unable to provide pension benefits without legislative subsidies). 40 years later there has been no compensation for the lost investment, only a token payment every year or two as the legislature finds convenient. The state employees union remains strong and healthy with continuing mandatory salary deductions, much of which is used for supporting friendly legislators or candidates.

                Finished my career as a small town chief. Established a city-funded retirement plan (7.5% payroll deduction with matching city contribution), not just for the department but for all city employees. Full vesting from day one, and none of the money was under any political control (similar to a IRA plan, individually owned and professionally managed). That fund remains strong and provides a very good return.

                My experience with public employees' unions has not been positive. No doubt, there have been circumstances in which a union has been beneficial for both employees and the public; but there is also no doubt that many unions are little more than political hacks that benefit themselves first and foremost, and the members exist primarily as a revenue source.

                My message to individual officers? Simple; you were offered a job with an agreed upon package of rules and compensation. When the day comes that you no longer want that position it is time to quit and walk away.

                My message to government employers? Simple; do the right thing to the best of your ability within the budget. When the day comes that this does not result in employee retention it is time for you to quit and walk away.

                My message to the general public? Simple; do not expect public employees to commit themselves to your benefit unless those employees can enjoy the same standard of living as the majority of your community.

                Following my 24 years in law enforcement I ran a business for 20 years. My employees were paid quite well (entry level trainees at far more than minimum wage, skilled workers at a level that allowed home ownership and a good lifestyle), everyone had weekends, holidays, and annual paid vacations, a health insurance plan, and profit sharing based retirement fund. If the day had ever come when my employees announced an intention to unionize I would have locked the doors and walked away before I submitted.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by scotty_appleton814 View Post

                  Part of that $160 is paying for the better salary and benefits that he may compared to non union job. He also also paying for legal representation during disciplinary issues, because even administrative procedures to fire or discipline someone can be (and mostly are) frought with a legalities and may end up being a labor law violation. Wouldn't you want access to a pre-paid lawyer in those circumstances. Like do you know how often coppers are not aware of their Weingarten and Garrity rights? A lot. Do you know how important those 2 particular labor rights are? Hugely important, but I would rather have the union attorney who has been at this for 20 plus years than myself. I'm not saying I have no faith in me. But if you need engine work done, most times it's best to take your car to the guy who is trained in engine repair.

                  Now about that 1% who may end up being garbage cops. 1. You will find deadweight in any job, union or not. 2. Yes you may think they are garbage, but if they are not out there violating people's rights or department policies, no. They are not going anywhere and you gotta get over that. Because if PDs could arbitrarily fire those they don't like. All it takes is the next admin group to lump up in there.

                  I have more, but I'm done ranting.
                  I don't have to get over anything. I work in a right to work state and for an at will employer. I'm happy with that. If I don't like the pay and benefits I can quit at any time and find another department.

                  Bad officers make us all look bad and cause more work for the rest of us. Even if they aren't violating people's rights or a particular policy.
                  I'll be damned if I have to do extra because of a lazy officer! I've been screwed by them in the past. They're going to pull their weight or we'll find something for them to do. If they don't like it they are welcome to quit.

                  JFYI even though it may be an at will employment here, I rarely if ever heard of a department just fireing an officer just because they can. Heard reports of sheriffs doing it by I've never personally heard of any doing it.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Holy **** speaking of no union protections i've just been laid off

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      That's very unfortunate to hear. You said you were in the hiring process for other departments. How far were you before they stopped for Corona?

                      Comment


                      • Saluki89
                        Saluki89 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Not really far at all. Really just a stack of lateral applications since I graduate soon. This is all messed up now.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by westside popo View Post
                      I've already stated my opinion on unions. As far as job security goes, do your job the right way and 99 % of the time you won't have to worry about loosing it.

                      And for the 1%, do you really want to work some place that doesn't want you there anymore?

                      So basically y'all are paying $160 a month to keep a job?

                      I would rather pocket the $160 and spend it on something I need or want. I could spend that money on gun related items, stuff for my saxophones, ham radio stuff, stuff for the truck or a nice dinner for the family at a restaurant.
                      I've worked for both unionized and non-union employers in my career. I've voted against unionization and been a union steward. I've also worked for an administration who would hang an officer by their thumbs because the officer was the "flavor of the month"...and I've been the "flavor of the month" myself.

                      I can tell you that unionization does much more than just protect lazy officers. I've personally been targeted because I stood up and did the right thing, and the union helped me to fight was was clearly unfair discipline used as retribution.

                      It's easy to say "if they don't want you, go somewhere else," but there also comes a point in a career where an officer's experience no longer outweighs their age...there aren't many departments that want a new hire in their mid-40's with 5 years before retirement. At that point, when you're looking at the blackball rolling your way (and every cop with a little experience knows that the blackball is a real thing in LE), you're not defending your job, you're defending your career and your pension. So, yes, there are times that you want to keep a job, even though they don't want you there anymore. And a union can help you tremendously in such a situation...I speak from experience.
                      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                      -Friedrich Nietzsche

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I work for a non-union agency.

                        For me, it wasn't as big a deal as it is or has been for others. I came to law enforcement later in life, after working many years in non-union environments. For my entire adult working life, I've operated with the understanding that I could be let go at any time, for any reason, with little to no recourse. I'm used to it.

                        As far as pay goes I'll admit we were undercompensated based on our surrounding agencies. Even so, I feel we made a decent living that's certainly above the median for our area. But we recently got a pay bump that brings us in line with other agencies. I'd like to think it was because of our administration recognizing the quality of our work...but it probably has more to do with recruiting new officers.

                        Finally, legal representation. I'll admit this is an area that worried me, and before I became a cop I actually looked into keeping my own attorney on retainer. But then I learned our state-wide police union offers pre-paid legal services to non-union agencies for $25/month. I've know officers that have used it and they had no complaints. I signed up as soon as I was able, and their hotline phone number is in my contact list.
                        Last edited by orangebottle; 03-26-2020, 03:19 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Even outside of police work, unions have helped non union workers. Unions do tend to help wages rise in their areas. Also, historically, employers, big employers were straight exploiting their workers. Working long hours, low to no pay. Working everyday. Didn't want to offer paid days off. Didn't want to offer benefit packages. Wanted kids who should have been in school, working in the factories and such. (I know there were other reasons why some kids HAD to work outside the home, but that could also go hand I hand with my previous statements.) Unions and organized labor had a big part in making safe workplace regulations a reality. Say what you want about unions but we have a whole holiday that by and large everyone celebrates because of organized labor.

                          Some of you mentioned that you are non union but are paid less than the union PDs around you. Thank the organized labor near you for helping your admin realize they had to pay more to attain and retain good talent. You guys with access to a statewide attorney service you can pay for monthly or yearly, that's another shared cost-benefit probably in some way sponsored or supported by a union.

                          If someone's greatest issue is that unions keep deadweight cops. Even your non union PDs have deadweight cops. And they ain't going nowhere. There is more power in collective bargaining for benefits and working conditions than trying to go it alone.

                          I am a relatively young man in my early 30s. Ask some of the OGs here who work LE the 50s until now. How many of them would say that they would prefer non union compared to union.

                          Also, Right to work is not an accurate statement. Because you literally have no rights to employment in one of those states.

                          I'm done ranting, time to proofread.

                          Comment

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