There are times in our lives when we are going to be searching for bargains, something solely based on its price. When we are searching for these bargains, generally, it is all we can afford, failing to see the value in the product. We rush to fulfill that need, and sometimes, it may be for a one-time use, never to be used again. This is when we choose a lesser quality product, thinking that it will make do. This is all understandable because, for the most part, we buy lesser quality things because they are not that important to us. When it comes to your career and who represents you for rights, benefits, working conditions and wages, this is not the time to buy bargain representation. This is your career on the line or a need for criminal representation for actions you have taken during the course of your duties as an officer. PLEA is the premier police labor organization in the state of Arizona. While we may not be the cheapest, we are by far the best.
Do not get mesmerized by the snake oil salesmen, and do not let your co-workers get fooled either.
Since I am writing mostly to PLEA members, most of you know this, but you know and work with people who have purchased the bargain deal or even regrettably choose no representation at all. These choices do not make any sense to me when your career is at stake. PLEA will always be there for you during an administrative investigation protecting your rights. I did not come up with this topic to fill some space; recent events have led to this. A small, uninfluential labor group that cannot internally represent officers in disciplinary issues and does not have authority to bargain or negotiate your contract has made several juvenile efforts attempting to lure officers away from PLEA. This tactic is being sold with clearance-rate pricing for membership and members-only prices. Bargain pricing for bargain representation (except they cannot fully represent you), so, what do you get? Not much at all. Remember, you get what you pay for.
I’ll say this just as the media would; for example, just as they like to glamorize the mayor by stating she is the mayor of the fifth-largest city in the United States. Well, you are a police officer in the fifth-largest city in the United States. Shouldn’t you be a member of the largest police labor organization in Arizona and one of the most respected in the country? PLEA is the most experienced police labor organization in the fifth-largest city in the United States. Sure, you can save a few dollars to be part of an organization that has no significance in police labor issues and does not represent you with police labor matters in this city. So, what are you getting for the bargain? To list a few examples, PLEA is the only police labor group in Phoenix making efforts in bridging the gap with the community by hosting events to discuss issues, meeting with community leaders and supporting schools whose district left them without police support. We keep the relationships alive, which creates a positive relationship with PLEA, the Phoenix Police Department and the community we are a part of. Your “bargain deal of the day” labor groups do not do any of these things.
When it comes to your career, I would hope when joining a police labor organization, one would choose the one that gives them the best representation. Recently, one of these bargain organizations had a member who needed legal assistance for a very serious issue. Well, this was too “hot” of an issue for this small bargain group, and they refused to provide legal representation for this issue that should have been covered. If this person was a PLEA member, they would have been covered; cheap is not always better. In fact, your elected PLEA Board has authorized spending money, so PLEA representatives have the most current and up-to-date training needed to do their job. This is more training than Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) investigators receive, and they know it. These cut-rate groups do not have the experience or training that PLEA has. We invest in training our reps so you get the best representation possible. We’ve said in the past, “During a PSB interview, the best-trained person in the room is usually the PLEA rep.”
These cut-rate groups cannot represent you, so why would anyone give them money? They do not represent you with contract negotiations; PLEA does. Actually, PLEA is the only police labor group in this city that has experience in contract negotiations because no other police labor group can negotiate with the City. We do not leave you behind without representation. Recently, one of these bargain groups would not help one of their members, so they came to PLEA for advice since they had been a PLEA member in the past but were no longer a Unit 4 member. Since we were unable to represent them, PLEA offered advice and direction, and after following our advice, this member of the bargain group was able to resolve the serious issue without help from that group. What type of representation were they paying money for? Do not be fooled by some half-pint, cut-rate organization that wastes what little money it has on stickers to put on food or water in a juvenile attempt to lure members away from PLEA. It is a waste of your money to join an organization that cannot represent you.
I guess what I am trying to get at is there have been some people left on their own due to bargain-bin shopping for a labor organization on the cheap. Do not get mesmerized by the snake oil salesmen, and do not let your co-workers get fooled either. PLEA is always working for the best interests of the members; we work hard to provide the best representation possible for you. Being one of the most respected police labor groups in the country, we have the attention of the fifth-largest city in the country, proven by recent events at City Council meetings. No other police labor group has their attention. You get what you pay for. When you pay bargain prices, you do not get much. With PLEA, you get what you would expect: experience, respect, benefits, a full office building with an officers’ lounge, representation, contract negotiation, community support and much more. What is truly sad is that I recently heard one of these bargain-rate groups had made the decision to pay off their members by offering them a few hundred dollars not to challenge discipline. That allows the group to save money by not paying an attorney to represent the officer, but it’s what you get when you choose bargain representation. In other words, get a little money while you still must take a paid-time-off suspension and live with what you disagree with.
The bottom line is this: PLEA provides you the best representation possible. If you do not believe me, tune in to the next City Council meeting and hear what is being said about PLEA. You will see PLEA is the only police labor organization that matters in this city. Do not waste your money or career with an insignificant, low-rate group.