Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing today to keep our brave and loyal Teamsters Local 700 Law Enforcement Officers up to date on our efforts to oppose a dangerous bill being discussed right now in the Illinois General Assembly and prevent harmful portions of it from moving forward.
Teamsters Local 700 is working with our allies in the State Legislature to oppose Senate Amendment #2 to House Bill 163. The proposals in the amendment undermine law enforcement’s ability to protect the communities they serve. The amendment not only endangers the lives of our state’s law enforcement officers, but it threatens the safety and security of each and every individual in the communities they serve.
The 611-page amendment contains volumes of ill advised and dangerous policy changes. It irresponsibly eliminates numerous protections for law enforcement officers. It is a knee jerk reaction to the demands of some without engaging in a thoughtful and collaborative approach to considering these issues. We demand that lawmakers withdraw this proposal and engage in a collaborative process in which all stakeholders can be heard. The concerns of the men and women who are on the front line protecting our communities are real and legitimate. The safety of our law enforcement professionals has been lost in this legislation and Local 700 is outraged at the failure of the authors to address that fact. Local 700 supports its law enforcement members and will give voice to their interests and their concerns!
We want to highlight three concerns that we have with the proposal (there are others though). Every citizen should be troubled by this legislation, not just law enforcement officers.
Collective Bargaining – The amendment prevents peace officers, including CCDOC officers, from bargaining over any aspect of their jobs except wages and benefits. This is an attack on collective bargaining rights and seeks to undo years of hard won protections the Teamsters have made at the bargaining table. It sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to the stripping of all collective bargaining rights for all union-represented workers as we know it. The men and women who serve and protect should not be denied rights guaranteed to virtually every other employee in Illinois.
Public Safety – Not only does the amendment weaken Officers’ abilities to keep the peace and preserve order, it puts them directly in harm’s way by restricting their ability to subdue dangerous criminals. This legislation endangers the lives of both the men and women who are sworn to serve and protect as well as the civilians they serve.
Police Protections – The amendment makes it easier to penalize and fire officers based on hearsay and unproven accusations. By eliminating sworn affidavits for complaints, it allows officers to be punished for unverified, anonymous complaints. The amendment also eliminates qualified immunity and reclassifies incidental or banal offenses by an officer to the level of a felony. It’s disturbing that some would seek to deny law enforcement fundamental rights of due process and fairness.
We remain committed to working with our lawmakers at home and in Springfield to ensure law enforcement officers are held to professional standards and maintain the ability to keep our communities safe. It is for this reason that Local 700 calls upon our legislators to withdraw this hastily drafted and ill-conceived Bill and establish and engage in a deliberative process in which all interests and concerns will be heard.
We call on all Teamsters local 700 Law Enforcement Officers to contact their State Representative and State Senator to voice their concern over this amendment, and urge them to protect their ability to ensure the public’s safety.
Ramon D. Williams
President, Teamsters Local 700