Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Good Cops vs. Bad Cops: Who's Stopping Us From Telling the Difference?

Police unions have gotten away with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that protect bad behavior and stymie most reform efforts. As outrage over unjust law enforcement tactics grows, it’s important to understand how police unions — and the bargaining agreements they push — prevent us from holding bad cops accountable.

That’s why the Center for Union Facts has launched a national education campaign regarding police unions and their CBAs.

The campaign includes a website,, and an explainer video that details how police union CBAs empower police departments to bury complaints, limit investigations, destroy records of misconduct, and provide excessive appeals for offending behaviors. The site also features research that shows unionized cops are more likely to kill civilians, especially non-white ones.

You can visit the site here, and watch the full video here.

According to an investigation by the Washington Post, a study of 656 police union contracts found that the median department offered officers as many as four layers of appellate review in disciplinary cases — meaning many cops who were fired for misconduct got rehired. Another study of police union contracts found 88 percent “contained at least one provision that could thwart legitimate discipline. Research also shows that police unionization between the 1950s-1980s led to “60 to 70” additional civilian deaths at the hands of police each year.

Due in large part to union lobbying efforts, police disciplinary records are often shielded from the public. As a result, it’s difficult to hold violent officers accountable — often until it’s too late.

The site also calls upon viewers to “take action” to support the JUSTICE Act, a police reform bill currently being considered by Congress. Viewers can send letters to their legislators asking them to support the bill directly from the website.

Most cops are good ones, but police unions shouldn’t make it difficult to tell the good from the rotten. 

Categories: Police Union Facts