French Police union leaders visiting the United States to lend their support at September 11 ceremonies spent time comparing policing issues with their American counterparts. Discussions revolved mostly around the countries' respective police labor practices.
International Union of Police President Sam A. Cabral and Secretary Treasurer Rich Estes spent two days meeting with the three top officers of the Federation Syndicats Generaux de la Police, AFL-CIO (SGP): Xavier Beugnet, Secretaire General; Christophe Tirante, Secretaire General Adjoint; and Nicolas Compte, Secretaire General Charge Des Relations Exterieures. While both countries' officers share the same concerns, there are many differences in the benefits received.
While overtime rules and treatment are a common concern in both countries, American officers enjoy greater protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets federal standards on overtime pay and practices--when enforced. In France, officers rarely receive overtime pay, but instead accrue comp time.
When it comes to disability benefits, France's federal law offers an advantage. Unlike in America, French police officers with heart disease are eligible for disability because the condition is presumed to be job related. The International Union of Police Associations has been actively lobbying to get a federal law covering all police officers.
Following discussions of labor differences, Beugnet unveiled his union's program to host the families of officers killed in the World Trade Center attack as guests in the homes of French families during the 2002 holiday season.