Unjust System Imperils Public Education as Well as Public Safety
The death of George Floyd late this May, which occurred when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as he lay handcuffed on the ground, prompted Americans all across the country to ask themselves how such a thing could happen.
Soon after the deadly arrest of Mr. Floyd on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, security footage and witness videos of the event began airing on news programs. And concerned citizens learned that the officer who did not remove his knee, even after Mr. Floyd passed out, had had at least 17 previous complaints filed against him with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
Unfortunately, as a consequence of a gag rule government union bosses have extracted from the MPD, it is impossible for the public to know the details of the numerous complaints filed against Officer Derek Chauvin before he was finally removed from the police force.
Big Labor Rules Shield Rogue Cops From Discipline
“By and large, American police officers are outstanding citizens to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. “Countless thousands of Americans are alive today who wouldn’t be were it not for the heroic efforts of policemen and women.
“And there are clearly cases in which the tough decisions police officers have to make in the line of duty, sometimes in just a fraction of a second, are unfairly criticized.
“That’s one reason why Right to Work members and leaders fully support the right of police officers to band together to defend their legitimate interests. Of course, all public servants must have this right.
“Unfortunately, government union bosses have over the course of many years successfully wielded the monopoly-bargaining privileges they have now been statutorily granted in more than 30 states to protect derelict public servants, including rogue cops, from discipline.
“The Minneapolis police union hierarchy is a case in point.
“Gopher State union kingpins have relentlessly exploited their government-granted power to speak for all front-line employees, including those who don’t want to join, in discussions over important workplace matters to keep unprofessional police officers on the job.
“Big Labor protections for Minneapolis police accused of inappropriate use of force include a 48-hour waiting period before anyone can interview them about the alleged incident.
“The police union contract also mandates the expungement of any disciplinary action that does not result in punishment from the officer’s record.
“And even when officers are fired for misconduct, the deal extracted from the police department by union bosses mandates an appeals process that frequently leads to a reinstatement based on technical procedural errors made by the investigating agency.
“The collective impact of such shields for the worst employees is to force conscientious officers to continue working side by side with those who have dishonored the badge.
“Of course, public-safety departments are far from the only government agencies where union monopolists go to extremes to protect bad and sometimes dangerous employees.
“The fact is, all government union monopolies are harmful.
“A 2018 scientific survey of educators commissioned by National Public Radio found that nearly two-thirds of unionized teachers nationwide agree that unions ‘make it harder to fire bad teachers.’
“Union-boss opposition to teacher accountability takes many forms.
“Just last year, the top bosses of the statewide affiliates of the mammoth National Education Association [NEA] and American Federation of Teachers [AFT] unions successfully lobbied against passage of Rhode Island legislation that would have criminalized sex between school employees and 16- and 17-year-old students!”
Committee President Exposes Government Union Excesses In TV, Radio Interviews
As concerned Americans nationwide considered how to deter misconduct without impairing police departments’ ability to maintain public order in June and July, Mr. Mix took to the airwaves again and again to highlight the pernicious impact of laws endowing government union bosses with monopoly privileges.
On June 19, Mr. Mix was interviewed on KUSI-TV’s Good Morning, San Diego program. On June 22, he appeared on WPXI-TV’s Chris Moore Show in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Radio interviews with Mr. Mix addressing the topic of police reform aired in Monroe, La., Wilmington, N.C., Mankato, Minn., Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich., Seattle, Miami, and other towns and cities.
An op-ed penned by Mr. Mix regarding the same matter was published in the Washington (D.C.) Examiner on July 23.
“Although the current political climate is in many regards hostile for Right to Work supporters,” he commented, “2020 is presenting us with a rare opportunity to make the case to the American people for rolling back monopolistic unionism in the government sector.
“As a consequence of the national focus on the tragic death of George Floyd, along with the undeniable role inordinately powerful police union bosses play in making such tragedies happen, even many diehard Big Labor apologists are finally acknowledging there is a problem.”
Perhaps the most flabbergasting example, noted Mr. Mix, is Harvard law professor Ben Sachs, the former union staffer who just a few years ago was the legal mastermind behind a Big Labor scheme to overturn, effectively, every state Right to Work law in America through judicial activism. (Thanks in part to Right to Work attorneys’ vigilance, this scheme was derailed.)
‘Changes to the Law Governing Police Unions Are Absolutely Necessary’
“Recognizing that police union bosses have ‘abused’ their monopoly-bargaining power in ‘indefensible ways,’ Prof. Sachs now openly advocates curtailing the scope of their power,” explained Mr. Mix.
“In a June op-ed published by USA Today, he explicitly acknowledged, ‘Changes to the law governing police unions are absolutely necessary.’
“At a time when even a man like Ben Sachs is admitting that monopolistic government unionism can be very harmful, it is ironic and distressing that the overwhelming majority of Democrat politicians in Congress continue pushing to expand it.
“Today, a majority of U.S. House members are cosponsors of H.R.3463, extraordinarily radical legislation that would override state laws and mandate union monopoly control over first responders and millions of other public-sector employees in all 50 states.
“Forty U.S. senators are cosponsors of S.1970, essentially identical legislation that would institute nationwide government-sector union monopoly bargaining by federal fiat.
“To put the icing on the cake, U.S. presidential challenger Joe Biden, now favored to win according to most polls, has publicly stated he is eager to sign legislation like H.R.3463 or S.1970.
“In the post-George Floyd era, it’s difficult to see how any candidate for federal office would dare to support such an ugly power grab.
“Over the next few months, Committee members will put intense pressure on Mr. Biden and other federal candidates who have backed H.R.3463/S.1970 to change course.”