FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Metro D.C. DSA Demands UFCW Local 1994 Reinstate DSA Member and Maryland Del. Gabriel Acevero
DATE: July 1, 2020
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United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1994 fired organizer Gabriel Acevero, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a Maryland House delegate, after pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police due to his support of police transparency laws.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD. — The metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (MDC DSA) calls on UFCW Local Union 1994 to reinstate its former employee, Gabriel Acevero, who they fired in December 2019. As reported by the New York Times today, UFCW Local 1994 President Gino Renne fired Acevero for refusing to back off the work he is doing as a state legislator to establish stronger police transparency and accountability policies in Maryland.
At the time of his firing, Acevero was employed by UFCW Local 1994 as a field representative. UFCW Local 1994, also known as ‘MCGEO,’ is a public-sector union that primarily represents employees who work for Montgomery County, Maryland. It is an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Acevero also serves as a part-time elected delegate to the Maryland State Assembly, for State District 39 in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 35, played a role in Acevero’s firing. FOP Lodge 35 wrote to MCGEO President Renne to complain about Acevero’s advocacy for a police transparency bill called Anton’s Law, and Lodge 35 President Torrie Cooke was at a December meeting expressing the same concerns to Renne about Acevero just before he was fired.
“Not only was it immoral for MCGEO President Renne to fire Acevero for his beliefs and advocacy,” said Irene Koo, chair of the MDC DSA Steering Committee, “but it is also an outrageous abuse of power for the police union to risk Acevero’s livelihood by pressuring the county employees’ union to fire him.”
Koo continued, “The Steering Committee of MDC DSA calls on MCGEO to immediately reinstate Gabriel Acevero to his job as field representative, with full back pay for his time off since December 2019.”
Maryland’s laws are among the worst in the country when it comes to the public’s right to know whether a police officer is under investigation, the results of investigations, and whether officers have ever been disciplined. Under Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, investigative and disciplinary records of the police—who are public employees—are not available to the public.
“Our chapter includes DSA members residing in Maryland,” said Koo. “Our members deserve accountability and transparency from all government officials, including the police. As such, we call on Maryland delegates to pass measures such as Anton’s Law and to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, which shields police from accountability. We also call on the Montgomery County Council to advocate for these steps with the county’s delegation to the General Assembly.”
Koo continued, “It is clear that even amid nationwide calls to defund the police and end police brutality, police unions are fighting as hard as ever to obstruct even the most basic measures of accountability. The fact that the FOP pressured another union to put a stop to Acevero’s actions reveals who they really are—a gang that will protect its own members and power at any cost, no matter what unethical actions they have to take to do so.”
MDC DSA also calls on elected officials and candidates for office to refuse donations from law enforcement PACs.
“Police unions are a tremendous obstacle to justice and meaningful reform, and their PACs donate to political campaigns in order to prevent legislation that would hold police accountable for their behavior,” said Koo. “No candidate can claim that they will rein in the police on the one hand while accepting police money and influence on the other. That is why we demand that candidates refuse all law enforcement-related donations and all law enforcement-related endorsements. Elected officials who have accepted such donations in the past should return or donate these funds.”
In summary, Metro DC DSA demands that:
UFCW Local 1994 immediately reinstate Gabriel Acevero to his job, with full back pay;
Maryland lawmakers pass Anton’s Law and repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights;
The Montgomery County Council advocate for Anton’s Law and the repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights with the County’s delegation to the state assembly; and
Maryland state and local elected officials and candidates refuse all donations and endorsements from law enforcement entities, and return all such donations accepted previously.