Liberal Public Employee Unions are the Reason We Can’t Fire Bad Cops

The murder of George Floyd is horrific. All sides of the political spectrum agree. This article is simply an alternative perspective to show the power of public employee unions, which could easily be a reason why Derek Chauvin was still a police officer

In the midst of the current chaos, Americans are currently asking “why?” Why did this happen? Why are we reacting the way we are? But the thing that is spouted everywhere almost uniformly is “Why was this guy a police officer?”

Before we get into anything, let’s acknowledge that the duty of a law enforcement officer is difficult, taxing, and necessary. A properly run society is managed by well-intentioned law enforcement officials who serve in the interest of the public. Police officers are to be respected for their commitment to protecting our communities as it is a stress filled and dangerous job.


Like every profession, there are bad apples. People that slip through the cracks of the hiring process and make it into the line of service. In a perfect world, these people will be weeded out in the interview process, but we do not live in a perfect world. Underqualified and unable individuals end up serving in positions that exceed their capacity. In the private sector, it eventually becomes evident that these people are not the right fit for the job. They are then let go to maintain the maximum amount of profitability for the company.

In the public sector, this is far less often the case.

Public employees are almost never fired for performance issues. It happens so infrequently, saying ‘it’s impossible to fire employees of the state’ is not that far of a stretch.

Anecdotally, think of the last time you heard of a teacher, police officer, or firefighter being fired for a performance issue. We all remember that tenured teacher in high school that phoned it in for 20 years or have had run-ins with that police officer who cared a little too much about his power over you at a traffic stop. Zoom out a little bit and think of the last time a disgraced government official was pubically fired for incompetence. Even then, “fired” generally just means “reassigned.”

What about the DMV employee who slept on the clock for 3 hours every day for almost 4 years? She wasn’t fired. She was embarrassed, yes, but she still has her job after costing taxpayers $40,000 to sleep.

Probably most notable in recent memory is the police officer in Parkland, Florida who was fired for not entering Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting and for not making his first radio transmission about the shooting until 5 minutes after he arrived on the scene. He got his job back this year with full back pay.

You can’t fire public employees.

James Sherk, a research fellow in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation, said it is much harder to fire government workers because of time-consuming and costly procedures.

“Federal law makes it very difficult to separate poorly performing federal employees from their jobs,” Sherk says. “Managers who need to fire problematic employees, whether because of misconduct or poor performance, must go through draining and time-consuming procedures that take about a year and a half.”

“Consequently, the federal government very rarely fires its employees, even when their performance or conduct justifies it,” he said. “This system shelters bad employees.”

Private employees are three times more like to be fired than public employees. Pubic labor unions, who almost always back big government expansionist candidates from the Democratic Party, perpetuate the inability to fire incompetent public employees by implementing termination processes that are impossible to complete. Once the union candidate is elected, that official pays their debt to the union by continuing overly favorable (and in California’s case, unsustainable) collective bargaining agreements that increase the difficulty of firing union members. And the vicious cycle continues.

Liberal big government policy only enhances the power of a system whose only goal is to gain more power. A bureaucracy that grows too big tends to funnel its efforts to one real objective; protect the bureaucracy. With that, the bureaucracy is only vulnerable when it admits fault.

The solution? Never. Admit. Fault.

A system that never admits its faults can never change. Firing employees, even if they deserve it, would be the system confessing problems within itself. And the system just can’t have that. So we, the taxpayers, end up paying the price by allowing a handful of lackluster public employees to diminish the value of good work that is being done.

You have to be able to fire bad public employees.

There is nothing that frustrates a good cop more than a bad cop continuing on in the line of duty. But unfortunately, the power of the public employee union makes it impossible to take a bad cop off the force.

Part of what is happening in the country right now is not a reflection of the good police officers who risk their lives to keep us safe. It is the inevitable culmination of the inability to fire bad public employees. And liberals seem to keep voting for more of it.

What do you think?