Page 6 - March 2021
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had a decrease from 2019 to 2020.
It really brings to light one of the realities of life today. Another
lesson we can learn from Geoff Woitel is that you never know when God’s going to call your number, so get busy living.
Real life
In the wake of all this, talking about the contract might not be significant. But putting our wellness ideas at the forefront of discus- sions has been very helpful, and we can piggyback the issues from there.
Believe me, I hear the talk from people asking why we aren’t going to arbitration. Everybody needs to understand the dynamic with the governor signing the criminal justice reform bill, HB3653.
The simple truth is that the City doesn’t know any more than we do about the result of that law come the end of the spring legislative session. And that’s not even going to be the result, because it’s going to be an ongoing battle, at least until we can possibly flip the House with more law enforcement candidates representing civilized soci- ety.
The discipline protections the City wants to take out of our con- tract are in some way, shape or form part of the bill. So the risk is that an arbitrator says that these things are already part of the bill, that we might as well give them to the City in interest arbitration, and then we’re stuck with them in the contract, watering it down forever. Because we’re never going to get these protections back once they’re watered down in the contract.
So that’s where we get left holding the bag. And even if we un- wind the law in Springfield, we’re still stuck with a watered-down contract.
The opposite for the City would be not taking out any of the dis- cipline protections because the arbitrator says, “Well, it’s already part of the law.” And then we get an interest arbitration ruling that has nothing in there, and we get a large portion of the negative stuff unwound in Springfield. Then the City is left holding the bag with
nothing they were looking for.
So it’s kind of the dynamic we’re stuck with. They don’t know any
more than we do what we’re looking at two months from now af- ter the spring legislative session. As a reality, however, now that the word “arbitration” has finally been spoken in contract negotiations, this is where we’re more than likely headed. We need to start having discussions about who’s going to hear it and what they’re going to actually have put in front of them for arbitration topics.
So at least we’re not dancing around it now that we’re headed that way. We will progress as we get there.
It’s our livelihood
The spring legislative session and unwinding HB3653 are still at the top of the agenda. We’re working in concert with the state law enforcement coalition that includes the Illinois FOP Labor Council, the sheriffs and the chiefs. We’re going to present legislation to com- bat a lot of the bad parts of that bill, clarify some of the confusing parts and narrow down some of the redundant parts or contradic- tory issues.
What we’re working out is the vehicle to do that. Do we do it in one big bill that just has a lot of what they got, and fix the parts we don’t like and introduce that as a replacement to that bill? Or do we do separate trailer bills for each issue? We’re still working out the av- enue of attack, but there’s going to be language on our end present- ed by the end of this month.
We have enough politicians who will at least put the bill forward. Some strategy about who we’re going to have do it is being discussed. I held out a little hope that the governor would have more com- mon sense about signing the bill and say, “I’m vetoing it. Just piggy- back the same wording onto another bill and let’s start doing it the
right way this time in the spring session.”
That’s life as we know it right now dealing with politicians. But as
I’ve always told you – and now it’s more important than ever – we’re going to fight like hell to improve our way of life. Keep on living life to the fullest, because that’s the best way to pay tribute to Detective Geoff Woitel.

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