A police strike is a potential tactic when law enforcement workers are embroiled in a labour dispute. They are somewhat rare because police are usually treated better than other public sector workers. Sometimes military personnel are called in to keep order or discipline the strikers. Police strikes have the potential to cause civil unrest.
List of police strikes
- United Kingdom (1918, 1919); Main article: Police strike 1918 and 1919
- 1919 Winnipeg General Strike
- Boston (1919); Main article: Boston Police Strike
- Melbourne (1923); Main article: 1923 Victorian Police strike
- Shanghai (1940)
- Cairo (1948)
- Detroit (1967)
- Paris (1944); see Liberation of Paris
- New Delhi (1946)
- Cicero Police Department,Illinois (1969, Berwyn Police, Illinois 1969, Des Paines Police, Illinois 1969, Harvey Police Illinois 1969 led by John J Flood, Founder and President,1968 till 2001,Cook County Police Association (CCPA)
Waukegan, Illinois 1970, Lake County Sheriffs Police Illinois 1970, Skokie Police, Illinois 1970, Wheeling Police Illinois 1970 - led by John J Flood, Cook County Police Association ( CCPA ) Skokie, Illinois 1975 led by John J Flood Maywood Police Department, led by John J Flood
- Montreal (1969); See: Murray-Hill riot
- New York City (1971), see 1971 NYPD Work Stoppage
- Baltimore (1974); Main article: Baltimore police strike
- San Francisco (1975),
- Cleveland (1978)
- New Orleans (1979)
- Birmingham (1979)
- Toledo (1979)
- Santa Barbara (1980)
- Milwaukee (1981)
- Corona, CA (1983)
- Ljubljana (1993)
- Bahia, Brazil (2001)
- Alagoas, Brazil (2001)
- Brazil (2004)
- Amsterdam (2007)
- Ljubljana (2010)
- 2010 Ecuador crisis. Police strike/coup partly in relation to planned benefit reductions. After a state of emergency and the near assassination of the president, the government steps away from planned cuts to police and military benefits. Police and military pay is then also increased.
- Bahia, Brazil (2012)
- 2013 police revolts in Argentina. Police strike over the value of their non inflation-indexed pay being eroded by rampant background inflation. After days of national chaos, individual regional police forces receive pay increases ranging between 33% and 45%.
- 2017 Military Police of Espírito Santo strike in Brazil
In many jurisdictions, it is illegal for police to strike because of the potential instability and public insecurity that can result.
In the United Kingdom Police officers are currently banned from taking strike action under the Police Act 1996. The police have been banned from striking since 1919, when the Police Act was first established. The Police Federation of England and Wales balloted members in 2013 for the right to strike but failed to gain enough signatures to change the law.
One cause for police strikes has been increases in the difficulty of policing itself. The wave of American police strikes in the late 1960s and 1970s accompanied other forms of social unrest—which themselves put pressure on police forces. Also, police wages, which had historically been exceptional, declined relative to the wages of other workers. Police strikes have also occurred in situations where national control was in question and the police's alignment differed from the current rulers (i.e. in occupied France and India).
- Days Of Violence: : The 1923 Police strike in Melbourne (1998) Gavin Brown and Robert Haldane ISBN 1-876462-01-9
- "Police Strike in Shanghai". Montreal Gazette. AP. 30 November 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Virtually all stores of the International Settlement were closed early today in fear of robberies as 3000 Chinese policemen struck for higher wages and larger rice allowances. Except for a small body of foreign soldiers, volunteer police, and 250 White Russians, the Settlement was without protection.
- "Police Strike and Riots in Egypt". The Age. AAP. 6 April 1948. p. 1. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
A number of people has been killed in demonstrations in Alexandria, where the entire police force of 3000 officers and men is now on strike for increased pay.
- "Police Strike Truce Called". Deseret News. 21 June 1967. p. 4A. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
A temporary truce in the six-day 'sick call' strike by police was in effect today after policeman agreed to return to work and the city promised it would lift the suspensions of more than 190 officers.
- Costelloe, Jayne (July 1994). "The 1944 liberation of Paris revisited". Parisvoice. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Civilian Parisians, sensing freedom for the first time in four years, began to harass the Germans in any way they could. Communist resistance workers seized the opportunity to openly oppose the Germans. They infiltrated the Paris police force, many of whom were frightened by their record of enthusiastic co-operation during the Occupation, they had rounded up French Jews even the Nazis were prepared to leave alone Participation in the police strike starting August 15 was good insurance for their future. The strike, coupled with news that day of more Allied landings off St Tropez, ignited the resentments and hopes of Parisians and, urged on by the communists, an uprising was borne.
- "Police Strike in Delhi". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 23 March 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Tear-gas was used to disperse a procession of about 100 policemen on a hunger strike in Old Delhi to-day. Eighty-six policemen were arrested after British troops, with fixed bayonets, had cordoned off the procession. They have been charged with inciting other policemen to mutiny. The striking policemen are demanding increased wages and allowances. About 2000 are now involved.
- "Effort Intensified to Settle Police Strike". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. 18 January 1971. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
As 20,000 city patrolmen refused to man their posts for a fourth day, negotiators intensified efforts Sunday to settle the walkout, spurred by a warning from the commissoner that his skeleton police force can keep going for only a few more days.
- "Frisco Mayor Offers Proposition In Attempt to Settle Police Strike". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 20 August 1975. p. 2. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Most of the city's 1,935 policemen walked off the job Monday after the board of supervisors approved a 6.5 per cent pay raise—half of what police had demanded. The strike left the city short of protection, but no major upswing in crime was reported.
- "Cleveland police strike: mayor pleads for troops". Montreal Gazette. UPI. 15 July 1978. p. 7. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
The mayor of this eastern U.S. city—one of three hit by municipal strikes yesterday—called striking policeman 'hoodlums' yesterday and pleaded for National Guard protection. [...] The wildcat strike by 2,000 Cleveland police officers and supervisory personnel left only a handful of high-ranking police officials to guard the city of 800,000. Other city workers, with the exception of firemen, honored police picket lines, crippling city services. The strike had no immediate effect on the city, except for flocks of prostitutes who openly flaunted their wares in the muggy summer weather...
- "Police Strike is Off, Mardis Gras is on". The Evening Independent. 10 February 1917. p. 3-A. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Between 650 and 1,000 of the city's 1,500 police officers had been on strike, many since Thursday night.
- "Birmingham Police Strike; Ala. Steps In". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. AP. 2 May 1979. p. 42. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Birmingham police officers struck last night, and the rest of the city's 4,000 employees were expected to join them this morning in a dispute about health insurance.
- "Toledo Police, Firemen, Sanitation Workers Strike". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 2 July 1979. p. 24. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Four of the striking unions—Local 7 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; the Toledo Police Patrolmen's Association; Fire Fighters Local 92; and Teamsters Local 20—represent about 750 police, 600 firefighters and more than 2,000 non-uniformed employees.
- "Police strike: Crooks have field day in city patrolled by a few 'old men'". The Miami News. 8 January 1980. p. 10A. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
The 100 officers on the force walked off the job late last Wednesday in a dispute that centered as much on a proposed merit system as on financial issues.
- "Police strike after shooting". Milwaukee Sentinel. 24 December 1981. pp. 1, 6. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
He said when the strike was declared that statements by Nabors about the shootings of the two officers early Wednesday were 'the straw that broke the camel's back' and prompted the wildcat strike. In a television interview Wednesday night, Nabors said the shooting of the two officers might have been caused by the suspect's fear of police. By 9 p.m., an hour after the strike was declared, all seven district police stations were closed, the doors were locked, and citizens were not being admitted.
- "Police Strike, Hide Out". Daily Times. AP. 19 November 1983. p. 1. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
After calling a strike for higher wages, most of Corona's 40-man police force was believed to be hiding out in Arizona to avoid being cited in violation of state laws barring walkouts by public employees, city officials said.
- "Police Strike Continues At Midnight". STA. 11 October 1993. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
The Slovenian police officers will continue to strike in the night of Monday to Tuesday. The next strike will last 48 hours, thus ending on Wednesday at midnight.
- "Violence escalates in Brazil in wake of police strike". CNN. 13 July 2001. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Federal troops were sent Friday to patrol Salvador and other Bahia state cities as violence has escalated in the wake of a strike by police and state military troops.
- "New police strike hits Brazil". BBC News. 19 July 2001. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Police in the Brazilian state of Alagoas have gone on strike, in a continuing national crisis over pay. The strike began on Wednesday, just a day after police in the neighbouring state of Bahia ended a similar 12-day campaign after accepting a 21% pay offer.
- "Brazilian police strike over pay". BBC. 10 March 2004. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
There have been major delays at airports across Brazil after more than 8,000 federal police officers began an indefinite strike for higher pay.
- "Police strike forces Dutch soccer postponements". USA Today. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Police had planned to demonstrate before, during and after the matches to draw attention to their demand for a pay raise up to 15 percent. The police won a court ruling in Amsterdam on Friday affirming their right to strike.
- "Police Strike Continues as Govt Pulls Out of Agreement". Slovenska tiskovna agencija. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
The strike by police officers continues as the government refused on Thursday to confirm an agreement with the Police Trade Union, which it initialled on Wednesday and which takes into account the majority of the union's demands. The demands included salaries of police officers to increase compared to other public sector employees. The union has presented studies showing that Slovenian police officers deserved a salary that would amount to the average of police pay in the EU.
- Carroll, Rory (30 September 2010). "Ecuador thrown into chaos as police and troops take over airport; President Rafael Correa in showdown with protesters angry at new law that protestors had perceived as cuts to their benefits". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- "Sin duda que fue un intento de golpe" (in Spanish). Página/12. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- Ralph, Talia (6 February 2012). "Brazilian soldiers clash with police on strike in Salvador". GlobalPost. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Some 3,500 soldiers clashed with Brazilian police, who have been on strike outside the assembly in the state capital of Salvador since last week, BBC News reported. The soldiers surrounded the building and fired rubber bullets and charged the crowd of about 4,000 police and their families, who are camped out in the legislative building, the Associated Press reported. The government told the BBC that about one third of Bahia's 30,000 state police officers are involved in the strike. Police in the state of Bahia declared a strike last Tuesday to demand higher wages and better working conditions, CNN International reported. Since then, 93 people have been killed, double the number in the same period last year, according to CNN. There have also been multiple reports of looting, according to the AP.
- "Chaos, riots, looting as police go on strike in Argentine city". RT. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
At least 130 people were injured and one killed following mass looting and vandalism by gangs of youths, who took over several parts of Cordoba City in Argentina. The lawlessness was a result of the police going on strike over low pay.
- "Law and disorder", The Economist, Dec 11th 2013.
- "Amid Wave of Violence, Residents Ask for Return of Policing in Vitoria". Folha de São Paulo. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
Despite the presence of the National Force and the Army, the State had another violent day: one shot hit a bus, there was a shootout in the neighborhood of Santa Rita and, in Serra, a condominium was invaded. Since Friday, relatives of police officers have been demonstrating in front of Military Police precincts.
- Travis, Alan; editor, home affairs (2013-03-04). "Police fail to vote for right to strike". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
- Ray, Gerda (Spring–Summer 1977). "Police Militancy". Crime and Social Justice (7): 40–48. JSTOR 29766004.
The causes of the sudden upsurge of police militancy in the last two decades lie in the changing conditions of policing. In large measure, today's police are moved to collective action by the realization that the declining legitimacy of the state subjects them to the explicit hostility of large segments of the population. Police work has become harder. As the degree of race and class conflict intensifies, the police assume a more demanding role both in repressing strikes and demonstrations and in attempting to contain the escalating level of crime. They are attacked, on the one hand, by progressive groups demanding the curtailment of their coercive power and, on the other hand, by reactionary elements calling for law and order and increased police efficiency. I