Why Our Union Is Asking the AFL-CIO to Get Rid of Police Unions

In These Times Union June 15, 2020

A demonstrator holds her hands up while she kneels in front of the Police at the Anaheim City Hall on June 1, 2020 in Anaheim, California, during a protest over the police killing of George Floyd. (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

The entire bar­gain­ing unit of the In These Times union is call­ing on the Wash­ing­ton-Bal­ti­more News Guild to urge the News Guild, as well as the CWA, to pass a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on the AFL-CIO to dis­af­fil­i­ate from the Inter­na­tion­al Union of Police Asso­ci­a­tions and oth­er police unions. We believe that the mis­sion of the AFL-CIO is to build a strong labor move­ment that fights for jus­tice and equal­i­ty for all work­ing peo­ple. It is not pos­si­ble to car­ry out that mis­sion while also rep­re­sent­ing the inter­ests of police, who oppress, beat, and imprison work­ing peo­ple, par­tic­u­lar­ly Black peo­ple. It is time for the AFL-CIO to rec­og­nize that it can­not fight for both sides in Amer­i­ca’s bat­tle for justice.

Over the past few weeks, jour­nal­ists have been sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed by police while cov­er­ing protests. Jour­nal­ists have been attacked with tear gas, pep­per spray and less lethal” ammu­ni­tion. One pho­to­jour­nal­ist was blind­ed in her left eye after being shot by police with a rub­ber bul­let. The Free­dom of the Press Foun­da­tion and the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists are cur­rent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing over 380 press free­dom vio­la­tions cat­a­loged since May 26, includ­ing more than 56 arrests and 50 phys­i­cal attacks by police.

As an organ­ic upswell of peo­ple exer­cise their First Amend­ment right to hold offi­cers who use unjus­ti­fied lethal force against civil­ians account­able, the police union has rou­tine­ly come out to sup­port offi­cers who face even min­i­mal con­se­quences for their actions. To con­tin­ue our affil­i­a­tion with the IUPA would go direct­ly against the AFL-CIO’s stat­ed goal of achiev­ing a bet­ter life for work­ing peo­ple” by pro­tect­ing one of the great­est threats to Black work­ers in this coun­try. Addi­tion­al­ly, it would under­mine our best inter­ests as media work­ers who are at the fore­front of defend­ing free speech.

We want to ensure our union is on the right side of his­to­ry. Please con­sid­er this our endorse­ment of a for­mal state­ment ask­ing our labor coali­tion to sep­a­rate itself from police unions.

In Sol­i­dar­i­ty,

The In These Times Union

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