Collective bargaining is generally considered a good thing. All workers should have the opportunity to negotiate with employers to reach agreements on working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers’ compensation. However, some union contracts go beyond the terms and conditions of the workers’ employment.
Police union contracts have created a system of protections for police officers that amount to an alternate justice system, creating significant legal and structural barriers to accountability, transparency, and fairness. Of at least 4,024 people killed by police between 2013 and 2016, only 85 of these cases have led to an officer being charged with a crime. Only six of these situations have led to convictions – fewer than 0.2% of known police killings. Data from some of America’s largest police departments show that officers who commit misconduct rarely face administrative consequences, either. It is not surprising that police officers are seldom held responsible for their behavior, as provisions in police union contracts constitute de facto immunity from liability. Continue reading Police Union Contracts