Sunday, September 27, 2020
Uncategorized The Police Officers Association is now attacking the SF...

The Police Officers Association is now attacking the SF Labor Council


Don’t these people know that they are just alienating their potential friends and allies?

The SF police union is calling out the ILWU over a Black Lives Matter protest. Why?
The SF police union is calling out the ILWU over a Black Lives Matter protest. Why?

By Tim Redmond

MAY 12, 2105 – The San Francisco Police Officers Association, not content to bully the Board of Supervisors and the Democratic County Central Committee, is now attacking the San Francisco Labor Council and the ILWU.

And once again, it’s all about a rather mild set of statements that never criticized the SFPD or any local officer.

POA President Marty Halloran sent out a missive yesterday to Tim Paulson, the executive director of the Labor Council, and Mike Casey, the president, denouncing the council for even considering a resolution endorsing the ILWU’s May 1 action in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The resolution was introduced by ILWU Local 10 member Marcus Holder, and called for “support of the May 1 union action to stop police killings of people of color.”

The longshore union moved a scheduled work-stoppage day to May 1 to close down the Port of Oakland for about eight hours to support the protests.

Nothing in the resolution mentions any specific police department. It simply notes, correctly, that “there is an epidemic of police killing of people of color, mainly black and brown people, across the country.”

It simply asks the Labor Council to “endorse this critical labor action.”

The measure never got to a vote because the Labor Council was unable to get a quorum at the April meeting where it was introduced. It was tabled at the Executive Committee. So the thing never passed.

Meanwhile, in the days before the May 1 action, an ILWU organizer, Stacey Rodgers, made a fairly straightforward statement to the Chronicle about why her union was working with the activists demanding an end to the brutality and killings:

“I am proud of my union’s history of resistance, and I felt it was time labor came out loudly against police terror,” union organizer Stacey Rodgers said in a statement.

That’s it.

But the SFPOA was incensed, apparently, and the letter that appeared on the group’s May 11 email blast called out Paulson, Casey, and Rodgers, denounced the local labor leaders as “unprofessional” and railed against the ILWU organizer by name:

Dear Mr. Paulson & Mr. Casey,

The recent comments made by Stacey Rodgers, in SF GATE on April 28th, and language within the Labor Council resolution of May 1st, are simply unconscionable.

As brothers and sisters within the Labor community, it is hard to fathom why you would choose not to pick up the phone to discuss this with me first. I understand politics, I understand the need to send messages to your constituency, but this is fear mongering and not constructive in any manner.

I would expect a greater sensitivity and understanding of the work we do every day to keep San Franciscans safe. This is immature and lazy and if you were truly interested in a discussion around how to work together on these issues you would not have taken this approach.

I expected more from you both. Casting negativity on an entire department based on individual actions, especially one that promotes diversity and support for affinity groups within our organization is both unprofessional and reprehensible.

Martin Halloran

SFPOA President


Now: Let’s remember the resolution never even came to a vote. And it never said a single word about the SFPD or suggested that a single SFPD office was guilty of anything (although some of them clearly were, and are).

“A lot of resolutions come before the Labor Council,” Paulson said. “This one was tabled.”

There was no “negativity on an entire department” – no department was ever mentioned.

I called Rodgers, and she told me she was baffled, particularly since she said she doesn’t know anyone at the SFPOA and never said anything about the department. “It’s unconscionable for them to call me out like that,” Rodgers told me. “But the ILWU is not in the least bit intimidated by this.”

Casey said he would like to see the Labor Council be able to work with the POA. “We believe that black lives matter, and we will stand up for that, and we can do that in a way that doesn’t alienate and demonize every cop in the city.”

Yes, that’s entirely possible. If the POA wouldn’t be so reactionary. This stuff can’t be good for the members of the union – or for labor in San Francisco.



Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. I see an echo of a discussion I got involved with elsewhere. Another troll tactic identified:

  2. Woodrow Wilson said about the same thing when he ran for Guv. of New jersey, his crack was that he “wanted to get out of politics.” Which everyone at Princeton took to mean that he wanted to get out of the petty University politics.

    Once you realize the lengths that people will go around non sense like SF BOS foreign policy statements or union flunky in-fighting its all quite funny… In a laughing at the true believers sort of way.

  3. Jorge, don’t be too unkind. Greg admitted back on SFBG that English is not his first language, having immigrated here from Europe.

    We should make all due allowances.

  4. Greg, it is socialists like you who are stuck in the 1950’s which was, of course, the heyday of communism.

    You are a delightful throwback to that era, and I think that should be preserved in much the same way as I think Art Deco buildings should be preserved.

    But that doesn’t mean you have relevance. Even so, i like the fact that some people still believe in the uber-state (and I don’t mean the car-share enterprise)

  5. I think I’m pretty well-versed in Sayre’s Law now. Doesn’t take much to be well-versed in it. I admit I didn’t know what it was, so I looked it up. I’ve heard the concept before. Didn’t realize someone named it. The concept always struck me as trite, simplistic, and usually wrong, like much of conventional wisdom is.

  6. I don’t care that you are a fellow traveler, it just cracks me up, I tossed it out because you were handing me opinions.

    You are illiterate because you have no clue about Sayre’s law, instead just rambling about what you think I believe around the cops because I think the petty small politics around a policy statement is a nyuck.

  7. I worked at an SEIU shop and the majority of the SEIU 1390 Market and then over there on Deharo office types were, lets say, single minded to be nice.

    It tripped me out that some members would hang on these officials pronouncements, adults listening to a 20 something studies grad talk about how the world worked. It didn’t take long to tire of the constant make believe.

  8. I’m always amused when the right-wingers who troll this site try to red-bait anyone they disagree with. It’s as if you’re stuck in the 50s, not realizing that it doesn’t carry the same offensive punch that it used to. I’m not a communist, so the label doesn’t really fit, but I’m not offended either.

    The only time I recall mentioning Cuba in recent memory was when Sam said that it’s a sure sign of freedom that Vietnam is becoming a major tourist destination. All I did was point out the absurd hypocrisy of that statement by pointing out that Cuba is a major tourist destination too.

    That doesn’t make Cuba a free country, and it doesn’t make me a communist, but whatever. You probably think people like Peskin and Ammiano are communists too.

  9. Greg hates all cops unless they are the ruthless enforcers of an anti-democratic communist state that hates free speech, and then he loves them.

  10. I would guess that about 99% of Americans are more concerned about black crime than about the fact that very rarely one of those black criminals meets an unfortunate but predictable end

  11. I was a union officer for nearly 16 years; please do not even try to convince people you know what you are talking about

  12. It seems you don’t understand Sayres law. In this situation petty infighting with union leadership over meaningless pronouncements.

    The high stakes of “And once again, it’s all about a rather mild set of statements…”

    The Cuban fellow traveler bemoaning state violence.

  13. Sayres “Law”? Are you arguing that people feel passionate about police abuse only because it doesn’t matter that they kill people with impunity? Or are you arguing that no one cares about police abuse because it’s such a critical issue?
    Or do you just want to keep up your end of the conversation, and the best you could come up with is a demonstrably false cliché?

  14. The leadership of unions often doesn’t reflect the membership. The leadership are often graduates of studies programs and other middle class soft science degrees, while the membership are a bit more aware of the realities of the world.

  15. No, the POA is a union. It’s just that you have a weird perverse hatred of one kind of public sector worker while loving all the others.

    Your statement tells us far more about your biases and prejudices than it does about the nuanced differences between different unions

  16. Potential friends and allies? The actions of the POA don’t make any sense only if you look at them as another union. But if you understand the reality that they’re actually more like modern-day Pinkertons, then it makes perfect sense.

  17. Doesn’t the POA know that Labor Council resolutions are a dime a dozen, mere rhetorical illusions, rarely backed up with action of any kind, just filed and forgotten?

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