The Association has levied a second charge against the Department for unfair labor practices. Earlier today, our labor attorney filed a charge of prohibited practice under M.G.L. c.150E with the Department of Labor Relations. We now have charges moving forward against (1) the unilateral implementation of Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) without bargaining to resolution or impasse and, (2) for the significant impact on our terms and conditions of employment relating the recent policy changes and implementation without either bargaining, nor providing for sufficient training and resources to actually adhere to new requirements.
Between December 23, 2020 and February 4, 2021, 65 policies, totaling 354 pages, were posted and effective immediately. These policies mandate specific requirements and actions to be taken by employees who are represented by SPAM. The impact of this decision by the Department is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Further, the magnitude of new policies and changes to existing work rules and practices, without training or resource, is dangerous and potentially harmful to both the members of this Department and the public.
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly apparent that the current Baker administration is not only incapable, but also unwilling to work towards positive change and the improvement of police services in the Commonwealth. We have been in negotiations on BWCs for over one year. Progress on both the policy and the impacts of implementation have been productive and, on several occasions, we fully expected a successful agreement – only to be stalled and/or ignored by the Governor’s office. This, while violence towards police continues at a disturbing frequency. In the last several months, two (2) of our Troopers were shot in the line of duty; one (1) of those ambushes was after a point in time where, absent the Governor’s inattentiveness, we could have had an agreed policy and the implementation of BWCs to capture the violent attack.
Negotiating policies, procedures and new equipment with the representatives of those who actually perform the work is mandated by law because it makes the end result safer and better for all involved. The hubris, and the vacuum within which decisions are currently being made by the Baker administration, is dangerously close to causing irreparable harm to the public safety services provided to the Commonwealth.
Rest assured, despite the challenges of the current administration, we are working diligently to advocate for your rights and well-being. We are in dire need of courageous leadership from our elected officials to stop the targeted attacks on law enforcement, both in the form of the direct violence that is increasing at an alarming rate, but also in the slanderous portrayals that only work to hasten the dangers we face daily.
Corey J. Mackey
Secretary, State Police Association of Massachusetts