SOLIDARITY WIN: Students organizing to hold U.S. Police unions accountable

United Automobile Workers local 2865, the union representing academic workers and graduate students at the University of California recently issued a call for America's largest labour body to end its affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations. The call for disaffiliation from the AFL-CIO is made on the grounds that the police union is "inimical to both the interests of labor broadly, and Black workers in particular." 

The union issued a letter drafted by its Black Interests Coordinating Committee to the AFL-CIO in late July calling for the organization to consider the deeply problematic history of police union allyship. 

Historically and contemporarily, police unions serve the interests of police forces as an arm of the state, and not the interests of police as laborers. Instead, their “unionization” allows police to masquerade as members of the working-class and obfuscates their role in enforcing racism, capitalism, colonialism, and the oppression of the working-class.

USC Student-Workers Association

Both recent social media criticism of a New York police union's campaign of shaming the homeless and this ongoing work of students at UAW Local 2865 demonstrates ways ordinary people can demand accountability and disrupt official solidarity with groups whose conduct actively perpetuates and criminalizes oppression.

At present, the International Union of Police Associations remains an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. No response has yet been provided to the union's letter.