Apparently it's not enough for the political left in Connecticut that nearly all state and municipal government employees are officially organized by law against government's very few actual managers assigned to implement the public interest. Last week four state employee unions brought a federal lawsuit claiming that members of the Connecticut National Guard have collective bargaining rights, though federal law makes it a felony for active-duty members of the Armed Forces to form labor organizations.
The lawsuit sees a loophole in the federal law – that it applies to National Guard members only when called to federal duty. Accordingly, the suit contends, when National Guard members act only for the state, they have the same collective-bargaining rights as state government's civilian employees.
The objective here is to strike at the heart of the sovereignty of state government and the public. It would compromise the armed force that is the ultimate guarantor of state law and the state's democracy. The federal law making labor organizing in the armed forces a felony plainly acknowledges the threat to the government's sovereignty. But having so badly compromised the state's sovereignty already, the government employee unions want to destroy what's left of it.
The danger of collective bargaining for the military is already painfully clear in Connecticut because of the many difficulties enforcing discipline in the state and municipal police departments, nearly all unionized.
It recently took the state police two years to get rid of a sergeant who had gotten plastered at a retirement party and then driven away in a police vehicle, violating not only the law but also police regulations and causing a crash that injured two people. The sergeant got a lenient plea bargain and remained on the state police payroll even while serving his criminal probation.
The state police union contract continues to forbid disclosure of complaints of misconduct against troopers.
The political left equates government employees with private-sector employees, as if government employees and the government itself don't have a higher responsibility, a responsibility to the whole people. It's bad enough that public administration in Connecticut is already so impaired by collective bargaining. Turning state government's own arms bearers against the government should be intolerable.
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Colchester's new first selectman, Andreas Bisbikos, a Republican, is under fire for fulfilling a campaign promise on his first day in office. He revoked the proclamation issued by his predecessor 15 months ago that racism is a "public health crisis" in town.
Such proclamations have been issued by municipalities all over Connecticut to strike poses demanded by the political left. Bisbikos' counter-proclamation notes that the original proclamation made its accusation of racism "without facts or data to back said assertion." Indeed, this has been the case with nearly all such proclamations.
Of course, racism is bad and racist incidents always can be found. But the proclamations claiming that racism is a public health crisis specify neither the supposedly racist policies and practices nor any racists. These proclamations mean only to intimidate – to put on the defensive anyone who might not immediately obey the racism mongers.
Connecticut and the country remain full of harmful racial disparities and policies that contribute to them. They must be addressed, and Bisbikos says his administration will do its part after reviewing the evidence. But these racism proclamations put the cart before the horse. Some even establish committees to develop evidence supporting the proclamation, the evidence being a mere afterthought to the posturing.
Maybe Colchester has wised up to the racism racket. It should be challenged everywhere.
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HOPE FOR SIKORSKY: Bridgeport can't run itself, much less the airport it owns next door in Stratford – Sikorsky – on which the city loses a half million dollars each year. But now Governor Lamont has initiated discussions with Bridgeport about having Sikorsky operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority.
The authority has greatly improved Bradley International Airport and should be coordinating if not operating all the state's larger airports. The Bridgeport area is full of potential and the airport is part of it.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.