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IT TAKES A UNION

Dennis Slocumb, Executive  Vice President International  Union of Police
Associations

California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, although endorsed by some large police
unions, is trying to replace defined benefit pensions for public safety
with 401k plans.   He is also undermining workers' compensation.   Police
Unions in  California are mobilizing to defeat these efforts.    The Los Angeles
Police Protective League, knows about working for a hostile chief of police.
They organized, remained active, and eventually got rid of him.  L.A.
County Sheriffs have been working without a contract for  years.  They have
redoubled their efforts to bring the Board of Supervisors  back to the table
in a meaningful way.  Membership has not dropped.   It has grown.  In Baton Rouge,
when faced with a hostile mayor, the Baton  Rouge Union of Police bought billboards,
radio and television time and got very  active.  A new mayor was elected
late last  year.  He is responsive to  their needs.    Mayor Kip Holden has
already made good on his  campaign promises to make police salaries one of his top budget priorities.  Newly elected Governor Blount, Missouri, began his first term
by voiding collective bargaining and bargaining agreements with state
employees.  We have not heard what the reaction of public safety in Missouri
has been.  All of these groups, and many others like them  across the states
recognized that when under attack, they must close ranks and  protect what
they strived too long to gain.  They are pit bulls, never lap  dogs,
especially when their rights and benefits are at stake.
 
On the other hand . . .
 
On January 11, the day after he was inaugurated, Governor Mitch Daniels,
Indiana, rescinded his predecessor's executive order granting collective
bargaining to State Law Enforcement officers.  He also voided all collective
bargaining agreements previously negotiated with the State  Police. 
It was then that the ironies began to pile up.  On  January 13,  the Indiana
Professional Law Enforcement Association's Board  of Directors voted to
disband their union.  Led by their President, Keith  Gill, the union folded its tent,
 citing the inability of their association to  bargain. 
 
On January 14, Gill, who is also the president of the Indiana State Police
Alliance, a coalition who endorsed Governor Daniels, raised their dues and
assumed responsibility for handling the grievances and legal representation
as was previously handled by the union which Gill himself dissolved.  The
local union "will not stand in the way of Governor Daniels' plans for
revamping state government," Gill said in a new release according to
INSYSTAR.com.   This  comment sounds more like something one would 
expect from an ad man for a hostile governor than someone hell bent
on protecting and improving the lot of his brothers and sisters.
 
And Gill is right.  The local union won't stand in the way because there is
no longer a local union.  This alliance headed by Gill actually endorsed the
governor who did away with their bargaining, their agreements and  many
other rights and benefits previously negotiated. If they won't "stand in
the way"  of this, one would wonder what it would take to get them to fight back.
 
The International Union of Police Associations encourages and applauds our
local's efforts to impact the political arena.  Our locals are active in
State legislatures across the nation.  This requires strong leadership and
a willingness to occasionally buck the elected official who would harm their
members.  It takes tact.  It requires courage. It mandates a commitment to
ferret out and identify publicly those who would shake your hand  while
picking your pocket.  Some have it.  Sadly, some don't. 
 
END
 
NOTE:
 
Originally chartered in 1979, the International Union of Police
Associations, AFL-CIO is the only AFL-CIO chartered labor union that
exclusively represents law enforcement officers.  The more than 120,000
members (one  out of every four eligible officers) of the I.U.P.A. are all
full time employees  of law enforcement agencies ranging from line officers
up to first line supervisors. 
The I.U.P.A.'s mission is to protect and advance officers'  wages, benefits,
and work conditions.  Membership includes officers from  over 500 agencies
throughout the United States and in the Caribbean and  Canada.