CLAW Events

Reforming Policing Through Changing Labor Relations

Reforming Policing Through Changing Labor Relations: A Webinar 

January 29, 2021

Sponsored by Berkeley Law, Center for Law and Work

The Movement for Black Lives and related activism have increased discussion of profound changes in policing. This webinar will explore possible changes in labor relations law that might contribute to transforming policing. It will begin with an examination of whether the labor relations structure of policing contributes to police violence and misconduct. Do union, civil service, and statutory rights in the disciplinary process thwart transparency and accountability of police? Would increasing public information about and oversight of police working conditions and discipline reduce police misconduct? If so, what changes in the rights of police as workers might improve accountability and transparency?

Welcome and Introduction: 10:45 – 11 a.m. 

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law

Joseph Grodin, Professor Emeritus, Hastings Law and Associate Justice (Ret.) of California Supreme Court (1982-1987)

Session 1: 11 a.m. – 12: 15 p.m.: What is Different About Police Labor Relations and Does It Contribute to Police Violence Against People of Color?

In this first session of the webinar, speakers will consider the labor relations aspects of ambitious ideas for the transformation of public safety through improved transparency and accountability.

Christy E. Lopez, Professor, Georgetown Law, Co-Director Program on Innovative Policing

Nancy Skinner, California State Senator for District 9

Ronald L. Davis, Director of Dept of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (2013-2017)

Moderator – Catherine Fisk, Berkeley Law

Keynote Address: 12:30 – 1:15: The Hon. Thelton E. Henderson (ret.), Distinguished Visitor, Berkeley Law, U.S. District Judge (1980-2017)

Based on experience overseeing the Oakland Police Department consent decree requiring reforms in training, oversight, standards for officer conduct, Judge Henderson will discuss the role of labor relations in promoting or undermining constitutional policing.

Specific Proposals for Reform: Introduction and Overview: 1:30 – 1:45, The Hon. John M. True (ret.), Judge of Alameda County Superior Court (2003-2015) 

Session 2: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.: Transparency in the Negotiation and Administration of Police Labor Agreements

This session will consider increased transparency in the negotiation and implementation of law enforcement agencies’ policies regarding officers’ interactions with the public, especially uses of force. The panelists may consider transparency before, during, and after contract negotiations with police unions and transparency of law enforcement disciplinary processes and disciplinary records.

Speakers:

Will Atchison, Counsel for Law Enforcement Officers’ Unions, Portland, OR

Jon Holtzman, Renne Public Law Group, San Francisco

Anand Subramanian, PolicyLink

Moderator – Ronald Yank, former Director of the California Department of Personnel Administration, former counsel for public safety employee unions.

Session 3: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Accountability

This session will consider proposals to ensure that union contracts do not prevent changes in policy aimed at respect for constitutional and civil rights. Among the topics that speakers may discuss include whether or how disciplinary processes should consider the public interest in just and nondiscriminatory policing, how agencies can impose effective discipline for misconduct, and whether or how law should require police unions fairly represent the interests of all officers.

Speakers:

Paul Henderson, Director of San Francisco Department of Police Accountability

Harry S. Stern, Principal, Rains, Lucia, Stern, St. Phalle & Silver

Jeanne Charles, arbitrator 

Moderator: Barry Winograd, Berkeley Law lecturer, past president, National Academy of Arbitrators

Bios for speakers and moderators can be found here.