Amid heightened scrutiny of police unions and their place in the labor movement, the King County Labor Council voted Wednesday to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild, which represents roughly 1,300 officers, from its ranks.
The vote comes two weeks after the council, an affiliate of the national AFL-CIO, passed a resolution calling on SPOG to acknowledge and address racism within its ranks and law enforcement more generally, and to commit to negotiating collective bargaining agreements that do not evade accountability.
The police union’s board of directors acknowledged in a letter this week that “institutional racism exists not only in the criminal justice system but more broadly,” and its president, Mike Solan, met with members of the council’s executive committee to discuss a path forward.
Speaking to council delegates Wednesday, Solan said the police union wanted to remain involved in the labor coalition.
“We see a future, one that engages in these robust conversations, in particular with race and how the institution of racism impacts all of our labor unions, not just law enforcement,” he said.
But the efforts fell short. A majority of delegates concluded the union should be removed from the council.
“We can’t both stand with a police system that’s set up to hurt our Black community and stand up for our people of color who are oppressed by police,” said Jane Hopkins, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
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