Orisons answer : When the Boston PD decided to strike they had every reason. World War one had just ended inflation had jumped almost 80% with pay only raising about 18% and to top it off the officers had to buy their own uniforms and equipment. The officers were required to live at the station in less than desirable living conditions. The government officials saw unions as evil and a threat. While there were approximately 40 police unions in the nation none of them were recognized by the police commissioner of Boston so the AFL allowed officers to join under them. This however did not last due to the officers going on strike and lawlessness erupting in Boston. The AFL wanted to back out due to the negative image and the officers were left without a union to represent them. This incident made police unions a taboo and they were avoided for many years. In 1955 when the AFL and the CIO joined together and with the militarization of the law enforcement profession throughout the 1960’s police unions were again considered.
Unions tend to be very political giving money to campaigns for elected officials who support the views and beliefs of the union rather that going for what is good for the community as a whole. While Unions are good in some ways such as fair pay and time off they can also harm smaller agencies due to the budget not being there to support the demands of the unions. While it is illegal for police unions to go on strike there are still cases of “blue flu” from time to time.
Orison: I support Orisons statement that when the Boston Police Department decided to strike they ha a very good reason. The Boston police officers went on strike back in 1919. They wanted recognition for their trade union and also wanted there wages and working conditions improved. It was the mayor and the city who had responsibility for the police department’s expenses, and the physical working conditions of their employees. It was the commissioner who had controlled the departments operations, such as hiring, and training, including discipline of the police officers.. As Orison stated the police had to buy their own uniforms and equipment, Back in 1918 a police officer only made $1,400 a year. There uniforms cost over $200. “New recruits received $730 during their first year, which increased annually to $821.25 and $1000, and to $1,400 after six years” (Russell, 1930). Government officials saw the union as a threat just like Walmart. They have never been unionized, and when they were the shut the doors a week later. It was the President of the AFL(Gompers) who suggested the workers to go back to work as stated by Orison. It was the suggestion of President Wilson forbidding the workers to join the union, A police officer is seen as a public servant who has the honor of the community in his hands. The strike was very successful. It was the Boston’s Police Association that was formed in 1965. “following the enactment of a state statute allowing state and municipal workers to organize for the sake of collective bargaining.”
Francis Russell, A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike (Boston: Beacon Press, 1930, reprinted 1975), ISBN 978-0-8070-5033-0, 48
Jack R. Greene, The Encyclopedia of Police Science, 3rd edition, volume 1 (Routledge, 2007), 100, available online, accessed September 19, 2014
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