Around the World

These articles feature a comparative look at policing across the globe. 

Around the World 3.1: Police Strikes in Brazil

Source: “Police strike by Brazilians makes holiday seem a threat,” by Simon Romero, February 2012. The New York Times. Available online at

Compared to the United States, other nations around the world are much more accustomed to work stoppages and strikes by those who provide vital services. Votes to strike by police in Rio de Janeiro and the threat of work stoppages by police “have kept regions of the country on edge.” The issue involves police salaries, and federal authorities have decided to ready soldiers and national police officers to maintain order if a strike occurs. Salaries for police officers in Bahia are “about $1,250 a month” and approximately “$1,170 per month in Rio de Janeiro.”

“Authorities registered at least 142 homicides during the strike in Salvador, more than double the number in the same period last year.” Intercepted cell phone conversations involving certain leaders of the police strike “suggested that rebellious police officers were plotting acts of vandalism and were trying to extend the strike to other states.” The judiciary is divided concerning the strike by police. Some judges believe it is lawful for police officers to strike. However, other judges described the strike by police as an “aggression against the democratic rule of law.”

1. Do you believe that police officers and other safety employees (i.e., ambulance drivers and firefighters) should have the same rights to strike as private citizens?

2. How do you feel about tying police salaries to a national financial index as a way of ensuring that law enforcement officers across the nation receive a fair wage?

3. If police officers are not allowed to strike, do you believe it is reasonable for officers to take other measures, such as work slowdowns or the “blue flu” (large number of officers calling in sick) to secure pay raises?