By Todd Harrison
Let me give you the street cop version of our fights against the enemies looming in our future. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. As your president,I want you to know there’s still plenty of fight left in this old dog. I’m not afraid. I prefer peace to war but unlike some of our pampered enemies, I don’t mind a good fight. In fact, I’ve settled many fights in the middle of the street that ended with the bigger guy on the hood, with his hands behind his back.
I’ve never underestimated my enemies, and you shouldn’t either. They may be well armed and loud but in the end they have to be put in the backseat and taken downtown before they hurt anyone else.
CLEAT has never been stronger. Just ask the police officers in La Marque where CLEAT rolled in and beat down a secret plan set in motion by the Texas Municipal League to strip away the minimum staffing amendment to the city charter and usher in privatization. Ask the Deputy
Sheriffs in Bexar County where they just settled a collective bargaining contract with good raises and won a huge court battle to protect their payroll deduction. Or talk to the police officers in Mission who switched from TMPA to CLEAT. Or how about asking my fellow officers in Austin where I serve on the APA board of directors why we voted unanimously to reject a bid for affiliation by TMPA and remain in CLEAT? Across the state where I travel every week, I find our local unions fully engaged in the war against law enforcement. There on the front lines right beside them in the trenches, I find the battle-hardened and talented CLEAT staff directing the fight.
Your lawyers are winning legal victories across the state at every level. We are winning reinstatements, promotions, as well as the larger union legal victories that set precedent and will impact officers for years to come. After being promised legal staff for over 35 years, our Rio Grande Valley members have a fully staffed CLEAT office in Edinburg and we are seeing sustained growth as a result of this decision. Our finances have never been more solid We have over a million dollars in reserves besides all of our real estate and financial holdings. That is a first in CLEAT’s history.
The CLEAT Public Affairs team killed tons of bad bills last session and passed the worker’s comp reform package that has expedited injured cops to the front of the line in Texas. And just last week we saw their hard work and mojo skills pay off when La Marque officers won a huge victory on manpower. They are eyeball deep in legislative campaigns right now. They are working non-stop to elect leaders that will help us in the future. We can offer our lobby team continued support by voting next week and by continuing to support all our allied PAC’s as we face new battles next session.
Our fully staffed Field Services division is now able to take care of our members in all the corners of Texas. Collective bargaining
contract negotiations are going better than we had ever hoped in this recovering economy. If your contract negotiations aren’t going as well as someone promised you—call me. I will bring in the right team to get you back on track.
For the past two years or more we have heard those seeking relevance, and often times just an audience claim that the paradigm has shifted, that the greatest days of law enforcement labor are behind us. Those are the folks who encouraged appeasement and capitulation with those who are trying to destroy your retirement and your rights. I was told to my face by one of these selfproclaimed prophets that there was nothing we could do but prepare for a new era.
We have been warned by folks from various states across the country that the pension/ retirement battle was coming to Texas. I’ve been smiling politely and wondering where they’ve been. We’ve been fighting the pension battle for years and unlike them we’ve been winning.
Don’t believe those on the rubber chicken circuit who tell you to surrender or make friends with those who intend to hurt you. Believe me, it won’t work. The task of CLEAT and every local law enforcement union in Texas is to stand tough and fight. We have a job to do that can’t be done hanging around management, hoping they will like us. When local presidents do that, they become conflicted, lose the confidence of their members and get voted out of office. Our job is to truly represent the interest of our members and that’s what I intend for CLEAT to do.
There’s a reason the other guys are busy trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing, so they can secure more taxpayer grant money to run their union. But there is a reason that CLEAT spends its time winning legal cases, negotiating big contracts, winning local elections and dominating the legislative process—when you mess with one of us, you get us all.
Strength, Justice and Unity. Take Care and be safe.