Across the nation, there are protests and riots against law enforcement based on the actions of alleged unjust police shootings. This was initially sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody. Protests that started out as a call to action against perceived police brutality, however, quickly turned violent in many cities and metro areas.
Portland and Seattle were among the hardest hit by this violence due to protests that deteriorated into riots on a nightly basis.
Unfortunately, this criminal behavior was able to thrive as big labor unions took the side of those who were marching through the streets bringing chaos to community after community.
With the support of verified social media users and influencers including labor unions, the message of police reform by protesters quickly turned into a siren call to “defund” or “disband” local and federal police agencies.
In Minneapolis, the protesters’ call to “defund” the police was answered. On Sept. 18, the Minneapolis City Council voted in favor of defunding and dismantling their police department.
Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are looking at cutting their police budgets. This comes after AFSCME Local 13 has sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups and organizations directly calling for the defunding of police in those cities.
AFSCME 13 sent $25,000 of members’ dues to a group called “Demos.” This activist group is calling for the “dismantling and defunding of state infrastructures,” which includes police and prisons.
Another $465,000 of dues money from AFSCME members was sent to Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood PAC. While controversial for other reasons, Planned Parenthood is also calling for the defunding of police specifically in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
These contributions are yet another prime example of AFSCME’s activism with its members’ hard-earned dues dollars.
These misguided calls to “defund” or “dismantle” the institutions of law enforcement will only hurt those most in need, including those state workers who are represented by AFSCME 13 in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. No union should put its activism before the safety and security of those they are supposed to represent.
AFSCME 13 has decided to pit union employees against one another; this is itself an abhorrent act that must be called out.
Our team in Pennsylvania will continue to highlight the ill-advised campaign of defunding the police to union members across the Commonwealth because no one deserves to be represented by a Union that does not put their interests first.