Baltimore police strike


Baltimore police strike

The Baltimore police strike was a labor action taken by the police department of Baltimore, Maryland in July 1974. The city experienced a police strike along with other community employees that was one of the most effective municipal labor actions of its kind since the Boston Police Strike of 1919. This was a real strike as opposed to a partial walkout or slowdown of work. The police strike lasted a total of five days, from July 11 to July 15. [Philip Jenkins, "The Baltimore Police Strike of 1974," in Ronald M. Filippelli, ed., "Labor Conflict in the United States: An Encyclopedia" (New York: Garland, 1990), page 33.]

In 1973 Baltimore had 3,500 police officers with as many as 2,000 with membership in the state employee's union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (ASFME). ASFME leaders and those from other public employee unions and organizations pressed Baltimore for collective bargaining rights, starting the Baltimore Police Strike. [http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=1354444 CJO - Abstract - ?There is tragedy on both sides of the layoffs:? Privatization and the Urban Crisis in Baltimore ] ] At the time police officers had their own wage demands, but they had sympathy with other city workers, likely having an effect on their readiness to strike. The strike of 1974 was tied up with other civilian employees of the city, including sanitation employees, correction officers, Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Department of Education went on strike at the same time, causing a crisis type of atmosphere. Garbage began to pile along the streets, inmates began to riot, and within hours of the police walking off the job arson began to erupt, costly the city millions of dollars of property damage and at least one death. [Ralph de Toledano, "The Municipal Doomsday Machine" (1975) pg. 152]

On July 1 approximately 3,000 municipal sanitation workers, jail guards, and other non-police had gone on strike. The police at this time did not join in, but they did their best to obstruct and paralyze the law. Police officers would write lengthy reports on pennies found along the side of the road and would turn obvious samples of tobacco over to the police lab for drug analysis. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,942930,00.html Chaos in Charm City - TIME ] ] It is estimated that nearly 1,500 police officers of the 2,000 went on strike. Non-striking officers worked 7 days a week in 12 hour shifts. Officers who did not strike were chastised for the decision by fellow officers.Ralph de Toledano, "The Municipal Doomsday Machine" (1975) pg. 38]

The city was not a safe place during this time, looting was occurring the commercial district; fires ran 150% above normal.Within the first two days of the strike at least 200 stores were looted. Areas where tensions existed only grew worse, an eleven year old white girl was shot as she sat outside her house by a black man driving down the street firing randomly. The city and state officials maintained a solid front against compromising and refused to make a settlement that gave strikers amnesty. The governor of Maryland Marvin Mandel ordered outside police help from 115 state troopers. In efforts to stop the strike on July 13, Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy threatened to jail striking employees. AFSCME was fined $10,000, but none of the leaders were sent to jail, which was a possibility under the law. [Bopp, William J. "Crises in Police Administration". Springfield , IL: Charles Thomas, 1984. Pg 72]

References

External links

* [http://www.afscme.org/ AFSCME website]

* [http://www.baltimorepolice.org/ Baltimore Police Department website]


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