PLEA member speaks to FOP members…Who’s the Puppet?

This article provides insight into why FOP has been voted out in other cities, including Phoenix. Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) works with MPA under the Arizona Police Association (APA), and will be providing input into our first contract.

Who’s The Puppet?


Rusty Stuart

Recently the FOP put out a letter laying out all the reasons to quit PLEA and join the FOP.  Just for a little background, I had been an opponent of PLEA for a very long time.  I first became involved when I found two fellow officers to be in trouble who had been videotaped by PSB while working off duty.  There was a fight at the bar they were working at and the department accused them of using excessive force.  They were blasted by the media, the department, and surprisingly, OUR OWN UNION.   These officers were not guilty and later acquitted.  Who was the puppet?…

Our group quit PLEA and went to FOP to challenge the leadership at PLEA as we did not need a puppet for the FOURTH FLOOR, selling us out whenever possible in the name of cooperation. This was code for being a puppet. We did post a challenge to PLEA and lost. OR DID WE? We opened many eyes on and off the PLEA Board. Suddenly they realized we did not need a Puppet. We needed an advocate.

Mark Spencer ran against Jake Jacobson to correct the problems within the union. Mark had succeeded where we had failed both inside and outside the Union. I watched from outside the union to see if this was going to be a real change. None of the people involved in our movement had done it for power, or to split the Union. We wanted an advocate for officers, in contract negotiations, representations, and local politics that affect our membership and their very lives, such as illegal immigration. HOW MANY OF US MUST WE LOSE BEFORE THESE POLICIES CHANGE!!!

Mark Spencer and the current board of PLEA have made concrete changes. I have rejoined PLEA and as a member and a rep, support them completely. I have stayed educated and have proven I am not PLEA’s puppet. Those who know me in management know I am certainly not their puppet. There is right and there is wrong and PLEA has been on both sides over the years. Under this leadership, which includes Mark Spencer as our face and leader, directed by the board, PLEA has changed and is fighting for us in many arenas. For example, our last contract surpassed the last four combined. Agreeing on such important issues does not make us a puppet as recently implied by the current FOP leadership. It sounds to me as though they were advocating having puppet presidents back.

It is true you don’t have to fight with management all the time and most problems can be worked out. However, when you have such important issues that you disagree with management so intensely on, you must dig in and fight. When you do speak out and the 4th floor opposes you, who is severing the relationship? When management tries to influence our Association elections, who is severing the relationship? Do the FOP leaders really believe they could have three thousand members and no infrastructure to support them? If so, how are they going to pay for it receiving ten dollars a month per member from the dues, as twenty five goes to the labor council? No, it is a classic bait and switch. FOP dues would be the same as PLEA’s within two years or we would have no representation.

If you are a young officer in fear of losing your job, attempting to weaken the bargaining unit at the very pinnacle of that argument should offend you. The City has threatened such layoffs every contract negotiation since the beginning of time I think. This time the threat is real and PLEA is working its butt off to make sure such cuts do not occur.

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