Police Unions

The Labor Movement is Untenable Without A Reckoning on the Question of Police Unions: A Personal Perspective

Early this summer, the world watched the uprisings that happened in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. The labor movement was left with the question of what to do. Dozens of unions reaffirmed a commitment to racial justice, and labor councils voted on the question of whether or not to expel police unions. Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, notably sidestepped calls to disaffiliate with police unions, stating instead that many police officers today are “community friendly.” Now, as we near the end of September, the question of police unions and their place in the labor movement presents itself again as the nation is grappling with the decision in Breonna Taylor’s case. By indicting only officer Brett Hankinson on three counts of wanton endangerment for the bullets that entered Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment, it is becoming even more plain that our legal system cares more about apartment walls than black lives and bodies.

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