Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 16, 2011, 4:59 p.m. EST by ARod1993
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I have nothing against you in general, nor against many of your officers as people. I am immensely proud of all the first responders at the World Trade Center on that day, including and especially you. You were our heroes then, and to some extent that's still true now, but that status does not constitute a license to brutalize American citizens.
That does not excuse the 1AM raid, the deliberate media blackout on said raid, the indiscriminate use of tear gas and batons (we now have a city council member behind bars with her head split open thanks to that behavior), the kettling and pepper-spraying of peaceful protesters, the pepper-spraying of an 84-year-old woman, etc, and the deliberate voyeurism and humiliation of female protesters while in custody.
We are not and should not be your enemies. Honestly, given the current political climate we are probably the only group here to whom you can turn for support when you act as members of the PBA rather than as enforcers of the law. I am referring in particular to your contract negotiations. Almost every contract you've had since 1994, including the ones signed following 9/11, has had to be handled by arbitrators who take as much back out of you as they give, and there's no indication that that's going to change.
Public opinion of public employee unions such as the one representing you is at a new low, and in fact several counties have attempted to go into bankruptcy because they couldn't be bothered to pay into their employees' pension plans. People are complaining about how their tax dollars are being wasted on paying your salaries, covering your overtime, providing your health insurance, and providing you a comfortable retirement even though there's no reason why you or anyone else shouldn't have these things.
The public will support you as on-duty cops fighting crime and enforcing the law. The mayor will support you as a security force he can use to break up protests and other things he doesn't agree with. However, both of these groups will do a 180 in two seconds flat when you ask for higher wages or better benefits or for the same number of sick days as last year. Should the question come to a strike, as it did with the transit workers in 2005, expect scabs and vicious rhetoric from Bloomberg and expect the populace to attack you for dereliction of duty.
Essentially, the only group out there that reliably supports you as union workers doing your best to achieve a middle-class lifestyle is the group in Zuccotti Park. They would be more than willing to back you in negotiations and stand beside you on the picket lines should that be necessary. They have also suffered abuse and violence at the hands of NYPD officers, and many of them will remember this the next time your contract comes up; it's far easier to boo strikers and protesters from the sidelines than it is to join them, and there will likely be a lot of residual anger from the raids.
You're already working without a contract and have been for over a year now. At some point you're going to call for one and you're going to have to go the rounds with the mayor and the city as usual. It will likely be a long uphill battle to get the contract you deserve, especially in these hard economic times, and if you succeed in silencing us you will have lost your most steadfast ally in the process.