Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law since the 1935 enactment of the National Labor Relations Act. Their activity today centers on collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for their membership, and on representing their members in disputes with management over violations of contract provisions. Larger trade unions also typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level.
Police unions in the United States encompass a variety of organizations. About 80% of police unions engaged in employee contract negotiations are independent, operate in a municipality or a region of similar size, and are not affiliated with larger organized labor unions. The national Fraternal Order of Police is the largest single organization, but includes both labor union locals and fraternal lodges. The police union with the largest membership nationally is the International Union of Police Associations, which chartered with the AFL–CIO in 1979.
For decades after the Boston Police Strike of 1919, police and other public employees were prevented by state laws from organizing. Only in the 1960s did those laws change to allow public-sector employees the right to collective bargaining.