Union Files Grievance in Arrest Made By Chief Of Police

At one point in America’s history, unions were a necessary force in making the workplace a safer place in which to work. Early working conditions for American workers were often dangerous to the worker. While much of the original raison d’etre for unions has been replaced by federal laws and agencies such as OSHA there is no doubt that much of the safety workers enjoy today are from the early union fights.

In the recent past, charges have been levied at unions for not caring about anything other than the influence and power of the union rather than workplace safety and the quality of work by union members. Nothing shows how far unions have slipped from their original concern over the health and safety of the common person than this story coming out of Scranton, Pennsylvania:

Scranton police file grievance after chief makes off-duty arrest

The Scranton police union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the city for an off-duty drug arrest made by Police Chief Dan Duffy in March.

The complaint, which was filed with the state Labor Relations Board on April 14, takes issue with the chief arresting a man who was allegedly in possession of marijuana because the chief is not a member of the collective bargaining unit and was “off duty” when the March 20 arrest was made.

In what can only be described a completely and utterly lack of touch with reality, the union is claiming that in their contract with the city, only union members can make arrests. As the chief of police is not a member of the union, he is prohibited from arresting someone when not on duty.

On that day, Chief Duffy said he was not scheduled to work but decided to check on citizen complaints about possible drug activity in a part of West Scranton.

While driving through the area, he arrested a man who had an outstanding bench warrant issued by Lackawanna County Court. The chief also searched the man and allegedly found he possessed a marijuana joint and drug paraphernalia, leading to the man’s arrest on drug charges.

Sgt. Martin acknowledged that the chief is “morally and legally obligated” to act if he sees a crime happen and to make an arrest if necessary.

But, the union president said the chief, as member of management, should not actively root out crime or randomly patrol neighborhoods while off duty because it violates union agreements that protect rank-and-file officers’ employment. The union is concerned city administrators will have more leverage to lay off police officers because “Chief Duffy will step in” and do the work, Sgt. Martin said. (emphasis mine)

There it is.

The police union isn’t concerned with the safety of the citizens. It isn’t concerned with drugs in a neighborhood. It isn’t concerned with the fact that the on duty cops didn’t make an arrest. It isn’t concerned with the fact that a guy with an outstanding warrant who was in possession of illegal drugs is off the street.

They are only concerned with “leverage” in keeping “their jobs.”

The union could have said “we believe that the chief of police and the uniformed men and women who serve with him are dedicated to the protection and safety of the people of Scranton.”

However, they didn’t say that because they aren’t concerned with the people of Scranton.

The union’s actions and words speak for themselves.

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