New Campaign Seeks to Reduce the Power of Police Unions

By Shani Saxon Aug 25, 2020

Campaign Zero, described as a “national platform of data-driven policy solutions to end police violence in America” on the organization’s web site, is on a mission to reduce the power currently held by police unions. With the launch of #NixThe6 on August 17, Campaign Zero identifies six ways “police unions obstruct, delay or defeat local efforts to hold police accountable and reimagine public safety,” according to the organization.

"Police unions, and the police union contracts and laws they’ve worked to enact, are associated with higher rates of police violence and lower levels of police accountability," Campaign Zero states. After analyzing police union contracts in close to 600 cities, #NixThe6 suggests, “specific policy and legislative actions to address these issues,” according to the group’s statement. 


With the 2015 launch of The Police Union Contract Project, Campaign Zero created the "first public database of police union contracts and police bill of rights laws," according to the group. It detailed how these contracts and laws make it nearly impossible to hold police accountable for misconduct. Over the past few years, the group has worked with city leaders across the country to "re-negotiate these contracts, challenge these laws, and repeal language that blocks police from being held accountable," the group explains. Now, with the launch of #NixThe6, they are expanding on that initial work in an effort to end the unchecked power of police unions. 

According to Campaign Zero, this new campaign builds on the group’s efforts to support defunding the police with its recent project #8Can’tWait:

Police unions and police union contracts are major barriers to defunding or abolishing police departments across the country. In many cities, police union contracts effectively place a stranglehold on city budgets by limiting the city’s ability to move money/reduce staff, automatically increasing personnel costs which comprise over 80 percent of the police budget, and placing restrictions on what department roles can be eliminated or reassigned to alternative responders. By introducing a focus on police union power and police union contracts, NixThe6 is a complementary effort that removes many of the systemic barriers that prevent cities from being able to cut police funding.

…Raising public awareness about the troubling influence police unions have is critical to changing the pattern of violence that is taking BIPOC lives nationwide at an alarming rate. We need to break down the structures that protect and tolerate this pattern of police violence.


Click here to read more about the research informing #NixThe6.