Police unions have too much power. It’s time to hold them accountable.


#NixThe6 is a project of Campaign Zero, a national platform of data-driven policy solutions to end police violence in America. The project focuses on six ways police unions obstruct, delay or defeat local efforts to hold police accountable and reimagine public safety.

Why You Should Care About Police Union Contracts

Campaign Zero launched The Police Union Contract Project in 2015, the first public database of police union contracts and police bill of rights laws; documenting the ways in which these contracts and laws make it harder to hold police accountable. Since then, we’ve worked with organizers in cities across the country to re-negotiate these contracts, challenge these laws, and repeal language that blocks police from being held accountable for misconduct. #NixThe6 expands upon this work by publishing new analyses of nearly 600 cities’ police union contracts, and encouraging specific policy and legislative actions to address these issues.


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.
A police union contract, also known as a collective bargaining agreement, is the formal working contract between a city and its police department. These contracts control how officers can be investigated or disciplined for misconduct; what appeals processes officers can use to seek reinstatement after being disciplined or fired, whether records of misconduct will be disclosed or destroyed, how much money officers receive in wages, benefits and other funding; and other issues such as the process for hiring, promoting and/or incentivizing particular conduct within police departments. Police union contracts are usually up for renewal every 3-4 years and many cities across the country are currently re-negotiating their contracts; making this a critical moment to take action to dismantle structures that protect police at all costs.
Campaign Zero obtained police union contracts through public records requests to cities and contracts obtained from city and state websites.
CampaignZero worked with YouGov, a well-known public polling firm, to issue nationally representative polls gauging public opinion on police union-related issues.
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% 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.
#8CantWait focused on rapidly raising use of force standards across the country in an effort to put in place clear limits on egregious tactics like police shootings, chokeholds and strangleholds. #NixThe6 focuses on removing barriers to accountability in police union contracts and laws so that cities can more effectively hold officers accountable for violating these standards and to empower cities to shrink the role of the police and reimagine public safety without police unions controlling the process.
Campaign Zero obtained the data from FollowTheMoney.org, a project of the National Institute on Money in Politics, which compiles comprehensive campaign finance data from federal, state and local agencies.


  • Kira Systems
  • Wieden + Kennedy
  • YouGov
  • FollowTheMoney.org, National Institute on Money in Politics
  • Legal Innovators
  • Octopus
  • Lemonada Media
  • Sukyi McMahon & Chas Moore, Austin Justice Coalition
  • Jay Ellis, Actor

Research Advisors

  • Abdul Rad, Independent Researcher, PhD Candidate, University of Oxford
  • Stephen Rushin, Associate Professor of Law, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law
  • John Rappaport, Professor of Law, University of Chicago The Law School
  • Joanna Schwartz, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Dr. Rob Gillezeau, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Victoria
  • Justin Hansford, Professor of Law, Howard University


  • Ariel Matos
  • Bobak Emamian
  • Eric Weber
  • Frank Chi
  • William Donahoe
  • Justin Kemerling
  • Irina Cortez
  • Jenelle Berry
  • Katie Ryan
  • Marva Lewis
  • Pilar Johnson