workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

“Unions” for thugs

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police recently won an arbitration order reinstating police officers caught on video in one of a series of robberies of 22 bodegas. (There was a back-up camera in this particular bodega, which filmed the cops cutting the wire to the camera they could see; the other victims only had one camera and so had only their accounts, which the police of course ignored.) A Washington Post columnist aptly described the outcome as “a lesson in American justice.”

The FOP and its ilk like to style themselves as unions, and to lay claim to the heritage of labor struggles for social justice. The Boston police who struck in 1919 (and were all fired) may have had the right to make such a claim. But today’s police “unions” are well-honed political machines which defend the thugs in uniform no matter how clear cut the evidence of murder, torture and other abuses. In These Times reviews this sordid history in a recent post to its web site focusing on Chicago and New York City. It concludes with these words:

police unions further the-all-too-accurate conception that the police are an occupying force in poor communities of color, and are antithetical in principle and action to the progressive principles of the labor movement.

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