Friday, January 10, 2014

Why police salaries won't be downsized anytime soon

I was just reading where the Ontario Provincial Police scored a beauty 8.5% wage increase. That takes the annual pay for your basic copper to about $94,000 a year before overtime or paid duty. In other words, the vast majority of them will be into the six numbers come the end of this year.

Frankly, I don't begrudge them a penny of it. It can be a glorious job, to be sure. Hell, give me a badge and a gun and a new Harley and I'd be happy to be a cop for minimum wage!

But it's also the shitiest of shit jobs. You'd be the guy taking charge of the scene when a toddler on his bike gets run over by a drunk. Or where some meth-head stabbed his girlfriend. Or a thousand other eventualities that you could never pay me enough to be anywhere near.

No, I don't begrudge them a penny of it.

But the OPP and other police services have done better than most folks in maintaining their standard of living. Why is that?

For one thing, they're 100% unionized. Constable Nimrod doesn't wander into the Chief's office one day to ask for a raise...

"Please Sir, I busted a marijuana dealer and a pedophile this year, I think I'm worth another two bucks an hour..."

No, they stick together and their union leaders, even when their unions soft-peddle the union deal by calling themselves "associations," do the negotiations for them.

Contrary to what the last 75 years of American pop culture would have you believe, there is strength in numbers. The "rugged individualist" survives mainly on TV and in comic books.

For another thing, you can't send their work to Mexico or China. Unlike Caterpillar, you can't lift your $30/hour guys out of Ontario and send them to build your shit in a $12/hour "right-to-work" state. Like nurses and teachers, that gives them a bit of leverage.

So good on you, boys and girls in blue. Enjoy it while it lasts, and if you stick together, you can make it last a good long time... maybe even till the pendulum swings back and every worker is once again considered worthy of a living wage.

In the meanwhile, next time you pull me over, remember this great plug I put in for you.

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