Patterico's Pontifications

3/2/2011

Re Cops, Unions, and Politics

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 8:32 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Yesterday in this post our host took notice of my most recent column at Pajamas Media, in which I expressed dismay that my labor union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, had encouraged its members to join in pro-labor protests organized by MoveOn.org, the SEIU, the Daily Kos, and a host of other far-left organizations. He wanted to know how police unions flex their political muscles, specifically asking about work stoppages or slowdowns.

I’m working on a follow-up piece for Pajamas Media in which I’ll amplify further, but I should say here that I do not believe police officers should strike under any circumstances. Absent that tactic, police unions are still vested with clout to the extent that their candidate endorsements can sway voters. Here in Los Angeles, for example, there are still some conservative-leaning districts where voters pay attention to endorsements from the Protective League. Crime is still a hot local issue, and the League can buoy some candidates and torpedo others based on a decision to offer an endorsement or to withhold one.

The League also donates money to some candidates, and even conducts independent expenditure campaigns, as they currently are in the race for the seat in the L.A. city council’s 8th District. The incumbent is Bernard Parks, former chief of the LAPD and a longtime nemesis to the League and to most LAPD officers who recall his tenure with the department. The League has endorsed Forescee Hogan-Rowles in the race and is running radio ads touting her candidacy and slamming Parks.

If Parks survives the challenge he’ll be even more obnoxious in his dealings with LAPD than before, if such a thing is possible.

Again, I’ll have more to say on the issue of cops and unions in an upcoming piece for Pajamas Media. Look for it next week.

5 Responses to “Re Cops, Unions, and Politics”

  1. Jack:
    I see that the newest Chief in L.A. has interjected himself into the new National argument over “high capacity magazines” for semi-automatic firearms.
    Of course, magazines of greater than a 10-round capacity have been banned from sale to the public in CA since 2000, and we can see what a huge impact that has had on the crime rate in the state – Not!
    But, I’m wondering:
    Will this call by the Chief of the largest police department within CA end up with other members of the firearms manufacturing industry cutting off CA law-enforcement from the sale and repair of their products as happened when a previous Chief became involved in the ban of .50BMG weapons by the CA Legislature?
    I thought it was a fitting payback when Ronnie Barrett of Barrett Firearms made the LAPD send two officers to TN to retreive two M-82 sniper rifles that they had sent back for repair which he refused to work on, and cut off all CA LE from the sale and service of his firearms – and there were a few others who followed his lead then.
    We can only hope that more do so in the future.

    Signed: A CA FFL, who’s tired of the special treatment that the Legislature has carved out for LE in the Assault Weapons law, the Safe-Guns List, and the Hi-Cap Magazine ban, just to secure a few votes and a lot of campaign cash.

    AD-RtR/OS! (75fc52)

  2. I should say here that I do not believe police officers should strike under any circumstances.

    It does not surprise me that you would say that, but it is still good to hear. I feel the same way about Deputy DAs.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  3. I still wonder how you can collectively bargain with much effectiveness if you can’t strike.

    The problem is, there inevitably ARE strikes — like the “blue flu” that strikes LASD deputies and plays havoc with the jails and getting defendants to court.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. FDR himself was against public sector unions

    August 16, 1937

    Mr. Luther C. Steward
    President, National Federation of Federal Employees
    10 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

    My dear Mr. Steward:

    As I am unable to accept your kind invitation to be present on the occasion of the Twentieth Jubilee Convention of the National Federation of Federal Employees, I am taking this method of sending greetings and a message.

    Reading your letter of July 14, 1937, I was especially interested in the timeliness of your remark that the manner in which the activities of your organization have been carried on during the past two decades “has been in complete consonance with the best traditions of public employee relationships.” Organizations of Government employees have a logical place in Government affairs.

    The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

    All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that “under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.”

    I congratulate the National Federation of Federal Employees the twentieth anniversary of its founding and trust that the convention will, in every way, be successful.

    Very sincerely yours,

    [Franklin Roosevelt
    President, United States]

    LarryD (feb78b)


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