Karlene Keogh Parks is running as an independent for the Phoenix city council. She recently sent The Data Port a short note outlining her position on the nature and usefulness of labor associations.She gets it exactly right.
When politicians in right-to-work states attack “unions” it is important to know who exactly they’re talking about.
Firefighter Bradley Harper and Police Officer Daryl Raetz laid down their lives in service to the people of Phoenix last weekend and both were dues paying union members.
Unions have names.
Unions have faces.
They are the names and faces of the thousands of men and women who work hard on our behalf every day. Labor associations advocate for their safety equipment, the resources their members need to get the job done, and yes, for the compensation that will now go to the families of these fallen heroes.
Some of our city employees say goodbye to their families every morning and place themselves in harm’s way so we can be safe. Do we the taxpayers have a responsibility to them? You bet we do, and politicians who cheapen that obligation by throwing “union” around like it’s a dirty word don’t speak for me.
Even when we disagree, it’s possible to do it in a respectful and constructive way. I believe it’s important to always remember this:
There is a wall in the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s office hung with the photographs of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Phoenix. There is another similar wall at the United Phoenix Firefighters office. Both of those walls are filled with pictures of union members.
On neither wall will you find the photograph of a politician.
Karlene Keogh Parks