Posted to the T&G:
The heart of people's complaints about the police unions is that they are getting things - and demanding rights - that most of the rest of us aren't getting, paid for out of our taxes. Next, people resent the police because they tell us what to do - who likes that? - and when they get out of hand their union demands that discipline be done fairly following due process. Finally, several posters said something like "unions used to be good but they aren't anymore."
Starting with the first, yes, people with unions aren't getting their wages and benefits slashed as fast as the rest of us because they have some power to push back. Should those of us who don't have a union drag them back into the muck with the rest of us? Or should we be focusing on getting a better deal for everyone - with their help?
Then, unionized public workers have legal rights to be able to speak about working conditions benefits. I've worked union and non-union - and the difference was huge. When I worked union I could talk without fear, without putting my job on the line. Do we really want cops on our street with a chip on their shoulder because they're disrespected and afraid for their jobs?
Then there's who pays taxes. There would be plenty of money for public employees if we had a fair tax and revenue code. Rep O'Day's initiative in the Legislature has highlighted over a billion dollars we could gain by changing the tax code so that the wealthy pay the same proportion of their income in taxes as the rest of us. But here we are scrabbling over the scraps in the pit.
Finally, the public employee unions are among the last unions standing amidst the devastation the banks have brought on our economy. Solidarity with them is the foundation for any fight back to reclaim our country. The long slide into the mess we're in started when the other unions let Reagan take PATCO down without a fight.
The police unions are our PATCO. We stand by them now or we all go down together.