BARGAINING BILL BETRAYED:
Reid Yields To Pressure from Landrieu and Weakens Bargaining Bill
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed profound disappointment with a decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV), who introduced still another version of the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.” The latest version, S. 3991, was essentially gutted, allowing Sheriffs and Sheriff’s Deputies to be exempted from the bill’s protections.
“Mary Landrieu has been working very hard for several years to undermine our efforts on this legislation,” Canterbury explained. “She may be popular with a handful of Sheriffs in her State, but she is no friend of law enforcement. The provision she insisted on would recognize the rights of some law enforcement officers, while denying these same rights to Sheriff’s Deputies. This will allow Sheriffs to perpetuate their exploitation of employees who have no rights or recourse–a culture that sees its fullest expression in Louisiana. Every at-will Deputy that loses his or her job to an unaccountable Sheriff will have Mary Landrieu to thank.”
Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) was the only Democrat in the conference whom the FOP considered unreliable on this bill. Each time the legislation seemed headed toward consideration, Senator Landrieu would introduce amendments opposed by the FOP in an effort to weaken or nullify the bill’s impact in her home State.
“We all remember the so-called ‘Louisiana Purchase’ or $300 million dollar payoff that Senator Landrieu received in exchange for her vote in favor of the health care bill. This is more of the same,” Canterbury said. “I am disappointed with Senator Reid’s decision to move forward with a bill that does not serve the broad interest of rank-and-file officers and, for this reason, the law enforcement labor community cannot support.”
The Senate has three bills pending before it entitled the “Public Safety Employers-Employee Cooperation Act”: S. 1611, introduced by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and the late Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA); S. 3194, introduced by Senator Reid, and S. 3991, which was introduced yesterday without the support of the Fraternal Order of Police. While all three bills would recognize the fundamental right of public safety employees to form and join unions and bargain collectively with their employers over wages, hours, and working conditions, the most recent version of the bill and the one Senator Reid has agreed to move would allow Sheriffs to deny these basic rights to their Deputies.
“I expect S. 3991 to be called up sometime this week or next,” Canterbury said. “Without the FOP’s support, I am not sure it will have enough votes to invoke cloture, so this may be a moot point in any case.”
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.