Today is Labor Day. Almost every full time sworn law enforcement officer in Ohio is a member of a union. However, many of our members have never worked in law enforcement before collective bargaining existed in Ohio. This includes myself.
We do not really talk about the history of the FOP as much as we should, we should talk more about those who came before us. We should talk more about those who fought for the rights of our members to belong to a union. We do not spend too much time looking backward at how we got from an occupation that required our members to work multiple jobs to provide for our families. We have forgotten that the FOP Associates were formed to help us get proper equipment from our employers. It is a far too distant memory that Deputy Sheriffs were fired every time a new Sheriff came into office. Most do not know that a full retirement almost never happened for rank and file Troopers before collective bargaining because you could be transferred for no reason at all, forcing a Trooper to choose between his job and his kid's school, his wife's job, keeping his house. Post academy training did not exist until there were unions.
Law Enforcement Officers are now a part of the middle class. This profession no longer requires you to work a side job to make the mortgage payment. We no longer have to provide our own vests and guns (unless the employer gives you money to do so.) We have better equipment than ever before. We have health care. We have pensions. We send our kids to college now.
No employer gave those things to you. You are not middle class because your employers have become benevolent.
YOU ARE MIDDLE CLASS TODAY BECAUSE OF THE UNION! Your family is more secure because of the FOP. You are safer because of the FOP. The families of our fallen are more protected now because of your union, the FOP!
We must remember that we are a part of this Labor Movement. We must remember that we were not just handed all the advancements of the past 30 years, those who came before us fought for them. They fought, went on strike or had the blue flu, they marched, they protested, they enlisted help from the community. THEY FOUGHT!
Remember those that came before us today. Remember them when you go to the ballot box and the choice is between someone who wants to kill your union and someone who supports your union. Remember which union, the FOP, has been fighting for LEO's since 1915. Remember, so-called right to work is WRONG but it is not just a threat! It is really that simple. Remember!
In today's environment of continual attacks on our members, we cannot rely on politicians to protect us. They will throw us away if it is in their interest. The only thing we can rely on is our contract and our supporters in the community to rally behind us. Your contract and the FOP will be there for you!
Today especially but also on everyday...remember that we are a large part of the labor movement. We are union and we are Proud to Be FOP!