|CPD cadets asked to describe themselves
versus others in a training exercise.
So should I decide, some sleepy Sunday morning, that I just don’t feel like writing a column, I would be within my contractual rights simply not to. When my editor inevitably sends a puzzled where-the-heck-is-it? message, I could explain that this is a union scheduling issue.
Except I would never do that. First, because it would make me a jerk and a bad employee. Second, it would burden my colleagues and undercut the institution that I love. Third, I would be shirking my life’s work, something I still enjoy doing. And fourth, my boss could just say, “So why didn’t you write it Friday? You were working then, in theory ...”
Truth is, given that much of my job involves noticing things and thinking about stuff, plus fretting over what I’ve just written and cooking up something to write next, I don’t know how you could possibly divide between time spent working and time off. “Sooner or later,” as Bruce Springsteen sings, “it just becomes your life.”
Which is why I’m so unsympathetic to the Fraternal Order of Police and its endless battle against vaccine mandates. In strictly union terms, just as I could sit on my hands next Sunday morning, FOP President John Catanzara is also technically correct: The city is asking police officers to do something that isn’t in their formal union contract. Requiring a vaccine is definitely a change in work conditions.
You know what else isn’t in any contract? A requirement that community residents talk to police after they witness a crime. Indeed, it is in their immediate best interests not to step onto their front stoop and finger the gangbanger down the street. Yet there are the police, knocking on doors, asking for the public’s help, without compensation beyond serving justice and living in a better community. Values the police seem to shrug off easily.
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