Brothers and Sisters,
The direct efforts of Teamsters Local 700 has led to the removal of language eliminating qualified immunity and collective bargaining for peace officers in House Bill 3653. Unfortunately, the bill passed this morning in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, winning approval in the State House by only one vote. We remain opposed to the bill, as it harms our most dedicated public servants, makes their difficult jobs even harder, and exposes them to unfair treatment in the workplace. Teamsters Local 700 urges Governor Pritzker to veto HB 3656 as soon as it reaches his desk.
I want to thank each and every Teamsters Local 700 Law Enforcement Officer that did their part in reaching out to their legislators and voicing your opposition to this House Bill 3653. There is no doubt in my mind that your individual voices combined with the efforts of Teamsters Local 700 and Teamsters Joint Council No. 25 led to the whittling down of what was a horrendous attack on law enforcement’s ability to ensure public safety.
When HB 3653 was first introduced a week ago, it contained one of the worst assaults on public sector workers we have ever seen. It restricted collective bargaining rights to wages and benefits only and stripped peace officers of qualified immunity. While those issues have been tabled for now, the bill would still allow for anonymous complaints against officers and lays out a challenging process for decertification, among other changes.
But that certainly does not mean the fight is over. There is a lot of work left to do. Asking the Governor to veto this legislation is one step, and there are many more on this journey to fight for the dignity, respect, and fair treatment of all law enforcement officers. We are monitoring other anti-law enforcement bills being talked about in Springfield, and will be keeping you updated as situations develop.
Ramon D. Williams
President, Teamsters Local 700