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Pittsburgh Police Union Fights City

Tagged under: News Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Politics Police
By Expeal on December 8, 2015.

Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi found this picture of a badge commemorating 100 years of the Fraternal Order of Police in Pittsburgh.

While the rest of us face drug testing from our employers on a regular basis, not all government workers are the same. The Fraternal Order of Police, the body that represents police officers nationwide, has been on the forefront of keeping their officers from being tested. Lodge 1, which represents the city of Pittsburgh, has fired a shot across the bow to protect their officers from being tested. They did this through a grievance complaint filed after the city ordered officers to undergo drug and alcohol testing in their investigation of a chase and crash.

The current agreement states that the only time the City of Pittsburgh is allowed to drug test their officers are when they display a sign of impairment on the job, fire a weapon, or are involved in a vehicle crash. The claim by the FOP is that the officers who were not actually involved in the actual crash should not be tested. While the FOP claims this stance is being made in order to protect the Constitutional rights of the officers, others fear that it is in order to hide steroid use among officers.

There are other reasons why the FOP is making life difficult for city officials – a negotiating tactic. Since April, the FOP and the Mayor have been battling over a proposed austerity measure. In essence, the city wants to freeze salaries in 2015, give a 1% pay raise in 2016, and 2% pay raises in 2017 and 2018. The union, of course, isn't happy with that and is doing what it can to make life difficult for the city. Who is the FOP working for – city residents or themselves?

If you live in Pittsburgh, contact the mayor and your councilman or councilwoman to let them and the rest of your local representatives know you want to ensure the city takes a stand against the FOP for you and the rest of Pittsburgh's voters. Your County Council member is also a great person to get in touch with, as they are in touch with a lot of local politicians and they often work together. Finally, getting in touch with your state representatives as well as federal representatives will make sure they know that you are an active participant in the political process, and not simply a social media justice warrior. Remember – politicians work for you. No matter how much money a lobbyist group gives a campaign, without votes, it will be wasted.

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